Having lived in or near cities all his life, Stan occasionally imagined a day when he would pack it all up and move out to the country to live the quiet, slow-paced life. Five minutes into a tour of downtown Tamarin given by Ferron, his plan was shattered.
Right off the bat, Stan knew this wasn’t the first tour Ferron had given. Walking a few steps ahead of Stan and Becky, Ferron rattled off a memorized spiel about town history with all the phony inflections of a gawky museum tour guide.
The cheerful propaganda started off with a welcome to Tamarin, where—Ferron explained—family is a way of life. Tamarin was named after a monkey, but that doesn’t mean it’s a place to monkey around. The founders of Tamarin wanted a home where they could enjoy personal and religious freedom. Later, religious freedom came to mean freedom from religion, making the town rather unique in Utah. But the town never lost focus of letting families enjoy a lifestyle that benefited everyone, especially women. Imagine where our fine country would be if we didn’t believe in the ideal of personal freedom. But some folks didn’t like having a place that was freer than others, so for many years the men of Tamarin were targets of vicious attacks, often resulting in dismemberment or murder. Thirty years ago a young man, still the current Mayor of Tamarin, decided to make changes. His vision transformed the town from a relic of the past into a model for future family living. And it all started with the community center.
Not surprisingly, they were standing in front of the Tamarin Community Center. Ferron asked Stan and Becky if they had any questions before they went inside. They didn’t.
Inside, everything was under one roof—no rooms, no walls. Just a wide open indoor space. Stan noticed basketball hoops on the walls, giving it a gymnasium feel, only no one was shooting hoop. There were about fifteen people inside, all grouped in clusters doing arts and craftsy type things. Kids were painting watercolors, making mugs on a pottery wheel while adults helped out. Stan scanned the room for the girl he’d seen the night before. Instead, he saw a muscular athlete stretching in a corner.
Ferron spotted him too and strutted over, putting on his cool act for the jock.
“You getting ready to throw?” Ferron asked, the tour guide tone gone.
The jock shrugged, aloof in the way athletes get when they’re successful.
Ferron remembered his tour.
“This is my cousin, Art,” he said. “Broke the state record for discus last year as a junior.”
Ferron said, “If you’re warming up to throw outside, we’ll come watch.”
Art didn’t look thrilled but nodded, picking up a black plastic crate of discuses.
Ferron led them out the back door to a running track with soccer goal posts on each end of the infield. Just the kind of place Stan expected to find the girl from last night, only she wasn’t there.
Art put on quite a show warming up, psyching himself out, shaking his limbs loose. Finally, he got into his stance and spun around, all muscle and power and technique, releasing the discus with a primal yell that made the veins in his neck stick out. The discus sailed off into the distance, getting smaller and smaller until it slapped down on the grass, caught an edge and rolled another ten yards.
Watching the discus soar across the sky, Becky realized she may have a use for a guy like Art.
“Your cousin is talented,” she said. “Must be nice to have a family tie to a popular guy like him.”
Ferron shrugged, looking down at his shoes while Art began his routine again.
“Speaking of relatives,” Ferron said. “It’s time you met my uncle. Or as most people in town call him, the Mayor.”
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