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Covid precautions have been relaxed in Vermont and we’re hearing about transmission rates increasing in every state. Be thankful you live in Vermont. I traveled down to Georgia and I can honestly tell you that in this state they don’t give two hoots.

Yes, I wore my N-95 mask on the flight and in two airports and everyone complied. Once I got to my biological father’s town about 45 miles southeast of Atlanta all bets were off, as well as the masks. I needed a few things at the grocery store. No one but us was wearing a mask. We went out for dinner near a famous lake and no one wore a mask before or after being seated. All the restaurants were open, many with outdoor seating, all of them with indoor seating and no concern for spacing, places were packed, masks were not seen at all. My Dad wanted to sit outside in the heat everywhere. Not my cup of tea but I quickly understood why. There was more space and it felt a whole lot safer than being crammed in among the throngs of people dining in the air-conditioned interiors. Suddenly take-out is looking a whole lot better to me down here.

Small town Georgia is not like Atlanta in the least. I caught an airport limo from Atlanta to my Dad’s house and the driver was a very cosmopolitan Jamaican gentleman about my age. He had lived in England and Manhattan for many years. We had a wonderful conversation about jazz and culture and museums in Atlanta. He wore a mask. He said that he drove people to the lake area a lot, said it was pretty here, but he was all about staying in Atlanta. I understood that. The town my Dad lives in is close to the lake with its Ritz Carlton and exclusive gated communities, but the town itself serves a very rural area and it is big farmland here. OK, I’ll say it. Lots of rednecks who still have Trump signs on their property as if the guy were still relevant. This tells me a lot about the lack of Covid precautions here as well. They just don’t give two hoots.

In the last few days, I’ve had a lot of long discussions with my father about race relations, politics, the environment, and the South. He just listed his house for sale. That should tell you a lot about how he feels about the state of things in rural Georgia. I feel the same way, but we’re both native Vermonters. Our home state has gone about things way differently than Georgia. While we both have Republican Governors, ours could not be more different than the guy in the state capital down here. My Dad likes this climate, but he’s moving back north just as soon as he possibly can. I don’t blame him.

Every time I travel I’m looking forward to getting back home to Vermont. I enjoy meeting new people and seeing new things, but I’ve been in this state down here enough times to find it conflicting and troubling. Georgia may have saved the Union by their voting in the last general election. The problem is that there are too many bad players living in this state and it will take constant vigilance to see her through all the dirty tricks and voter suppression schemes being thrown at her. Plus, too many yahoos not wearing masks. By the time you read this, I’ll be back home. I’ll have dirt on my face from getting down and kissing the Vermont soil.

“The Morning Almanac with Arlo Mudgett” is heard Monday through Saturday mornings on radio stations Oldies KOOL FM 106.7, 96.3, and 106.5 and over Peak-FM 101.9 and 100.7.