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Home Town Security

I grow pumpkins every year. Some years I grow field pumpkins for Jack O’Lanterns, but I always plant at least a couple of pie pumpkin plants.  My pumpkin passion began a few years ago with a Thanksgiving dinner shopping trip that resulted in one can of  pumpkin pie filling and a long lesson about security.

I was expecting company and had waited till the last possible minute to do the shopping.  A glut of pumpkins the year before had prompted me to plant only one plant, but, a spate of cold weather resulted in a last minute addition to my shopping list.  Only when I got to the store and saw the empty bin did I learn that it had been bad year for pumpkins everywhere.

I moved to plan B – pureed pumpkin.  I headed for the baking aisle, but the pumpkin gods were not smiling on my dinner.  The shelves had been picked clean of canned pumpkin.  Plan C – premade pumpkin pie filling – was an unappetizing last resort, but as I was started going through my alternate dessert list, I almost tripped over another determined hunter kneeling on the ground and rummaging through the lowest shelf.

“Excuse Me!” I yelped.  The other woman about the same size as I pulled her head out from the shelves and gave me a broad smile.

“Hello, Rachel,” she said.  I knew her face and name; she was a teller at our local bank.  I was a bit surprised, however, that she knew mine.  We chatted about our pumpkin quests and our miserable harvests.  We compared garden notes and then said our goodbyes, both of us vowing to plant plenty of pumpkin from now on.

After that encounter I noticed that most of the tellers at her branch did greet our family by name as soon as we came in the door.  I never needed to produce a license  – I’ve passed the small town identity verification.  But I didn’t really think about the pumpkin powwow until I walked into the bank yesterday to chase down a suspicious charge.

In spite of all of the high-tech security out there, someone had managed to fraudulently charge over $200 to my debit card.  So I went in and chatted with my favorite teller about electronic security and safeguards, and she educated me while fixing my account to prevent repeat transactions.

I walked out to my car grateful for our teller’s help securing my account again. I thought about this year’s pumpkin pie insurance sitting at home on the counter,and I thought about what it means to be secure.  For me, it isn’t 128-bit encryption or turning over my digital life or home to a company to monitor.  For me, security is some source of food that’s 100 feet away from our table.  It’s a community we know and that knows us.  And it’s the knowledge that when one of us falters, we are not alone.