Someone close to my heart often refers to her Putnam County point of origin as a “sleepy little town.” My interpretation of this is that she sees the villages inside this county’s boundaries as sitting peacefully in the midst of God’s country while the world whooshes by. The locals sip lemonade or hot cocoa, as the season dictates, on the back porch/by the fireplace, watching the Holsteins graze on the back 40 behind the hardware, mooing jovially to children as they skip home from school. War, famine and ugliness are elements found way, way ‘out there’.

Depending on your perspective, that’s either a lovely sentiment or your worst fear. Either way, I doubt it was ever true. It sure isn’t now. Last week a reader told me that Putnam County is a launching pad for people. The Sentinel’s most recent Putnam County Guide includes a list of famous people who hail from hereabouts. Nancy Kline is indulging her passion for history to add some names to that list which you will see in the near future. I’m coming up on my one-year anniversary at this desk, and during this time I’ve heard of individuals who helped launch Sesame Street, wrote Newbery Award-winning books, presided in this country’s highest courts and invented life-altering technology. This week I spoke to the brother and grandmother of Byron Kaverman of Fort Jennings, the man who took second place in a world poker championship. He must have learned that particular skill outside of Putnam County, because I’m sure he never played cards in study hall or on the bus. I certainly never did, no sir-ee.

We also see the infamous around these parts, and on occasion it befits the edicts of journalism to cover the bad and the ugly, sometimes requiring us to place coverage of the unpleasant alongside or above the good. It happens, sometimes after we’ve already mapped out what goes where on the page before it ships to the press. Floods fill our streets and basements, algae blooms, businesses close, people do go hungry and families divide.

Yep, this county is far from asleep, and waking nightmares trouble us all from time to time. But there’s a reason why people stay here, or go and come back as I did. This land and its people do not sleep. Most of us even have internet service, allowing us to find out just what kind of sea creature we are via Facebook. Change rolls around here, sometimes reluctantly and other times rocketing out of here to impact everyone else. And I’m finding that there are more people in these parts who are prepared to embrace the new.

Thank goodness there’s still a back 40 to escape to.