New York City Is Safe, Really

One is safer in Times Square at midnight than on a desolate country road after sundown.  But I can’t convince my Midwest cousin of that, though.

“I’m just a hillbilly girl.  I’m not sure I can do it,” she said during a recent call, echoing the sentiments of others I know.

She used the “h” word to downplay her navigation skills.  Yet, this is a 40-something woman who traveled from Cincinnati to Tampa with two elderly stroke victims – my mother and hers – and their wheelchairs, navigating planes, airports, taxis and hotels, so I’m confident she can do “it,” whatever “it” is.

She, however, is not.  Instead of jumping at the chance to visit while she’s relocated in nearby Hartford, she rattled on excessively about her accidental detour through Harlem when she took a wrong turn while driving from Ohio to Connecticut. I resisted the urge to mention St. Louis – a Midwest city – is the most dangerous U.S. city.

Her naiveté is ironic when considering that when I was in college a head was found in a cornfield a couple of miles from campus.  The southern Ohio college is known for its anti-war demonstrations and producing killer weed.  Yet, it’s the murder that made headlines, and causes me to have chills today.  Whenever I think of it I envision a scene from a Stephen King movie with cornstalks gently swaying in the wind under a steel-gray sky.

“Look, in all my years here they’ve never found a head on Broadway,” I try to reassure her.  “A body maybe.  But never a head.”

Silence.

My bet is she’ll want to discuss this over dinner at the Olive Garden.

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