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Those wonderful people. They used to come in droves on weekends and holidays. They made sure to get the best places under trees, and as close to BigFoot Beach as possible. They cooked out, erected small awnings and tents, cooked brats, hot dogs and Mexican food on outdoor charcoal grills. They then sat back to relax in folding lawn chairs while their kids went back and forth across South Lake Shore Drive, enjoying the small strip of sandy beach and the purity and coolness of Geneva Lake water. Those wonderful people were almost all of Spanish descent. They were Hispanics or Mexicans, if one might want to use racial or cultural terms to describe their social groupings.

They are gone now. A determined effort was made by several groups of white people who didn’t want them there. Those white groups run BigFoot Park, but also align themselves with other Caucasian groups to “Make America Great Again” by stressing more racial “purity” and harmony. Those wonderful picnic people are gone now. The boaters and park people went to work and, where the old ash trees once spread out above the beach park like giant umbrellas, these purer people sent in wasps to take care of the supposed Emerald Ash Borer eating away at the trunks and branches. The wasps were supposedly of the non-stinging variety, but nobody thought to ask the wasps about that. The wasps attacked, and one summer was spent by those wonderful people fending them off. The wonderful people stayed.

The pure people met and considered their next move. They cut down all the trees. They claimed the wasps had failed, and the Emerald Ash Borer were killing the big trees, making it too hazardous for people to picnic under their huge overhanging branches. The trees came down in a matter of days, laying waste to the park and sweeping the shade providing shelter away in one fell swoop. The Geneva Shore Report covered the slaying of the ash trees, and checked the stacked trunks and cut branch wood. Not one ash borer, or any trace of any animal infestation, was found in the very healthy wood. The wood was removed in hours and never seen again. This year the wonderful, peace-loving, quiet, family-oriented and very Christian people did not come back. They are gone now. The boat people, who used to anchor and tie off their boats about fifty yards off the shore have now moved in much closer to the beach and rocks. There is no one to be careful about or to share the beach and shoreline with. The park is empty. If you go to the park gate and ask about where all those people went you might get the same reply GSR X-Files investigators got a few days back.

They were told that the “other people” probably stopped coming because of immigration problems and fear of being found and deported. That Statue of Libertyexplanation seemed illogical at the moment of its telling, but upon reflection there may be some truth to it. The collected groups undertaking the hugely laborious project of “Making America Great Again” may well have called in the ICE forces to check out the picnic goers. How is it that communities that become inbred and infused with intolerance for anything different from themselves may learn to extend invitations again to those who might add so much to the future of their own situations and family? On the Statue of Liberty is written something that should be posted on all four entry points to Lake Geneva: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

Almost every person now living in and around Geneva Lake had relatives welcomed to America by such a monumentally generous and rewarding mantra. When did “making America great again” come to mean, around Geneva Lake, that being isolated and living alone among those whom we are living alone with, is something to be treasured and admire! How can we have forgotten our forebears so quickly and easily and what they intended for us?

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