Monday, June 20, 2016

Former local residents love Sunbelt living

Editors' Note:  As longtime Spy readers are aware, in addition to providing comprehensive state, national, and world news, the Spy provides in-depth local coverage of its hometown, Old Sludgebury, Mass. and the greater Sludge River Valley.  It's a typical old Massachusetts town, still recovering from the closure of the asbestos mill in 1935, but the folks there are as friendly as any in the Commonwealth, e.g. not at all.

By Magnolia Tangere
City Editor

As summer begins, we decided to check in with former Old Sludgeburians and find out how they like their new Sunbelt homes.  Not surprisingly, they love it!

As long as the gators eat the neighbor's dog
they're fine, says happy Florida resident

Mrs. Kathleen T. Burke, formerly of Sludge Heights, is now happily ensconced in a cozy trailer park just 30 miles inland from Fort Myers, Fla., famed as the Spring Training home of her beloved Red Sox.  And she's there for good: “ I could never return to Massachusetts, what with those terrible winters.  I haven't lifted a shovel in years, except to stun that gator that tried to eat my beloved Pekinese, Tony C.”

She said that the local wildlife keeps life interesting: “I used to hate the gators but one of them did eat Mrs. Floyd's horrible mutt, so that was all to the good.  And thank God I don't have to pay income taxes to support educating other people's children!”

“Anyway, they say we won't have to worry about the gators much longer because the pythons will eat them,” she chuckled.  As sirens wailed in the background, she said, “That's just another of those flood warnings.  We get them all the time, but I got a great pair of rubber boots at Wal-Mart for $4.99.  I heard on the TV that Florida will soon be under water due to climate change, but that nice Mr. Trump says he won't let that happen.”

No snow in this forecast!
Reached inside his home in sunny Phoenix, Arizona, James X. “Jimbo” Burke, long-time Old Sludgebury fire chief and brother of the city's mayor, James T. “Jimmy” Burke said, “It's another beautiful day in Paradise.  Of course it's 120 in the shade, and there's isn't any shade, so the only poor bastard outside is the illegal immigrant clipping my hedges for $4 an hour.  If he doesn't like it, I can just call up Sheriff Joe and deport his sorry ass.”

Burke said after fighting fires for three of his 25 years in the Fire Department, he was used to heat.  “Anyway, you stay inside until sunset.  By then it's only a hundred and change and you can open your car door without an oven mitt.  Sure beats scraping ice off my car, I can tell you that!  As soon as Jimmy maxes out his pension, he'll be here year-round, instead of only November through April.”

At least you don't need to plow fire, Mrs. Burke noted
Finally, we spoke to Mary E. Burke, formerly of Hollingsworth St. in Old Sludgebury.  Now she lives happily in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles, where the thermometer topped out at 112º this afternoon.  “But it's a dry heat, and anyway you're driving around all day on the freeways so you barely notice it.”  She estimated that she spent four to five hours a day in traffic to run her daily errands.  Yesterday she said “I was going to Ralph's for some Metamucil and you wouldn't believe the 101.  But the A/C was on and it was a perfect opportunity to check my Facebook feed!”

She apologized for having to cut our conversation short: “The fire department says we have to leave because the wildfires are heading in our direction.  It happens all the time out here, but at least I don't need a snow blower!  No more New England winters for me!”

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