Guess who I ran into at the tavern this past weekend: the Town Crier. We shared a hard cider while he brought me up to date on what was happening on the local scene; he didn’t report world news because it would be stale by the time he got it from London. When last I had seen him he was preparing for the winter as we were in the throes of what appeared to be “an old fashioned New England winter.” It didn’t happen, though, and that old furry forecaster from Punxsutawney was wrong: we had an early spring.
The river stayed open this year, the Town Crier told me, but record rainfall precipitated high water all winter with floods in the spring, as new records for rainfall were set, so he couldn’t get out in his boat.
“Just goes to show you,” I intoned, “You can’t count on anything when it comes to forecasting. Why, I heard that the Federal government has a special committee that convenes to tell us when we are in or out of financial recession." )
“Is that right? “He asked as he exhaled some alcoholic breath that caused me to move the candle that illuminated our table, in case he ignited. “How do they do that?”
“Beats me,” I said, scratching my head for emphasis. “I guess they hibernate in that same hole as Punxsutawney Phil and don’t come out until the guys that meet under that old tree on Wall Street in New York City, to invest in companies, pick the magic number.”
I told him that the country seems to be doing okay as more pleasant weather arrives. Shoppers were back and the Merchant has been bragging about how increasing sales for the past three months has wiped out his thin inventory. The Farmer got his seed in already thanks to the early Spring and he is talking about record crops this year. It seems he has found some export markets and he is thinking about turning over some new acreage. This of course is good news for the Cooper as the need for his barrels has increased.
“But I heard that things in Europe were somewhat dicey," he countered.
“Old stuff.” I replied. “You need to get better data sources. You’re beginning to sound like that government committee who just peeked out of their hole and still see clouds. Maybe you need a better news source."
“But I get my news from travelers who post notes on the bulletin board in front of the town hall across the river where the stage stops. The people who leave these seem to have some interesting thoughts.”
“Ah, but do they sign them? And, if they do, what are their credentials and do they have an agenda?” I posited.
“Can’t say, but they seem to be in the know.” he apologized.
“There you go,” I said. “And this is what you have been broadcasting?”
Plunking down a few coins for the cider I left him scratching his head in a quandary as I head out for an afternoon tea party.