Challenged

Challenged

Challenged

In the early days of our town there was this town and some other nearby towns. None of the towns felt particularly connected, owed in large part to the unincorporated areas between Williams Bay and Lake Geneva and again between Fontana and Lake Geneva. The only two towns of importance that touched were Williams Bay and Fontana, but even that contiguousness was barely recognizable due to the large swaths of lakefront camps set up to assist city dwelling out of towners with their weekend lakeside dreams.

This easy harmony persisted for generations, with Williams Bay offering no challenge to Lake Geneva, and Lake Geneva viewing Williams Bay as no manner of threat. The schools in Williams Bay and Fontana were small, the schools in Lake Geneva were big, and so the sports teams didn’t interact very often and if they did it was usually a lopsided affair. Williams Bay once went years without a win for their hapless football team, as if such a drought of victory could ever be tolerated in the big city of Lake Geneva.

Just as sleepy Linn Township separated Williams Bay and Lake Geneva, Geneva Township separated parts of Lake Geneva from parts of other nearby towns. The township could not be confused for the city, just as the nearby City of Delavan shouldn’t be confused with the adjacent Town of Delavan. Geneva Township was a township without much meaning, inhabiting some of the areas in-between. Williams Bay never felt any unique beef with this township, even though the smallest piece of Williams Bay touched the smallest piece of Geneva Township. Williams Bay preferred to think of itself as being in between Fontana and Linn, rather than in between the Town of Walworth, the Town of Delavan and the Town of Geneva, all of which are also true.

One summer, this preferred belief of generations of Williams Bay residents was challenged by a decision made in the bowels of the building where the Town of Geneva holds their quorum. Instead of residing quietly and passively on the north side of Highway 50, the Town decided to press their boundary right up to the very near north edge of Williams Bay. The signs said nothing but Welcome To Geneva, as if anyone was visiting intentionally, and they were hammered into the ground within feet of the border with Williams Bay. Now a driver from Williams Bay, who for decades preferred to ignore the Town of Geneva, leaves the village only to be assaulted by this Geneva sign.

The Town of Geneva is presumably waiting for Williams Bay’s counterstrike, but it’s uncertain whether Williams Bay will retaliate. On one hand, the sovereignty of Williams Bay has been challenged by its unimportant neighbor, and such a challenge should never be ignored. But on the other hand, to respond to the challenge would be to admit the existence of the Township, which is less than ideal. Presumably something will happen, and until it does, neither town will feel quite right.

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