After following all the back roads and maps (GPS reception isn’t that good out there in rural Western Franklin County) I stopped by a country store that seemed to be a part of someone’s house. After waiting for the two men to pause from their discussion at the cashier’s, I asked for directions to the town center. They asked me why I would want to go there, as there’s nothing there. I found out I was standing in the only store in the town!
I got my directions and drove into the town center. There was a small common, with a community hall, a combination town hall and library (open only a few days of the week) and a church. I happen to strike up a conversation with the man who lives between the church and the town hall and told him why I’d traveled to Heath. When I mentioned that I needed to photograph something that could only be in that town, he said “We’ll, you’ll have to get a photograph of the Niebuhr church.” I wasn’t sure what he meant, but then he explained that the Heath Union Church, next door to his house, was where Reinhold Niebuhr first read “The Serenity Prayer” in public in 1943. He also wrote it in a little cottage in the town. This was another surprise for me that I’ve been finding when I visit all these towns! The town center was certainly serene!
My new friend gave me some of his beautiful heirloom tomatoes and then he gave me directions back to Rowe, passing by the Heath Fairgrounds. The Heath Fair has been happening for about 100 years and is one of the oldest in the state still happening. Unfortunately, I’d missed it by three weeks, but if I were there then, I’d would’ve been a lot less serene.
So, where have you found done serenity?