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What folly if the following fable came to be in Rappahannock County:

On a fine spring morning here, about twenty five years from now, a pair of foxes sat atop a crumbling rock wall at the edge of a forested area. Sir James Fox reminisced with Lady Roxanne Fox, saying, “Great Granddaddy Fox told me there used to be children playing amidst the apple trees that used to be here. Now most are gone, and that old cemetery down yonder has so many more tombstones, too. That saying, ‘for want of a nail, the kingdom was lost,’ sadly seems to be the case.

“Some foresighted landowners protected their lands decades ago to give us the wide sweeping vistas we still enjoy. However, some folks failed to understand the necessity that came with time. Great Granddaddy Fox told me about all the fuss when electric power came here, the poles and wires everywhere. Guess fuss and lack of understanding is what happened when the need for better communication systems happened. A cell tower denied was the nail that began the downward spiral. Without that to begin a needed communication system, some couldn’t build viable businesses here, children were hampered in their inability to study at home, a big yearly celebration changed its venue to one with cell service. Families didn’t come here anymore. When fire and rescue volunteers retired due to age, fewer young people joined. Taxes went up to provide paid fire and rescue, which fewer citizens could afford, so more left the county. 

“Now, Lady Roxanne,” Sir James continued, “all we have living here are the wealthy ones and their staff. Tourists come through, and businesses attracting them have been able to struggle through the maze of rules mandated by a few who appeared with personal goals of ‘preserving Rappahannock.’ Unfortunately, what they’ve done is the exact opposite: a place with fewer children, less orchards, hardly any appropriate housing, and less opportunity for many. What a tragedy,” he sighed. 

“Oh, Sir James,” Lady Roxanne replied, “what a sad tale we must pass on to our kits.”

— The writer lives in Washington.

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