A golden rooster turned high above [the town of] Tarbox. The Congregational Church, a Greek temple with a cupola and spire, shared a ledgy rise, once common pasturage, with a baseball backstop and a cast-iron band pavilion used only on Memorial Day, when it sheltered shouted prayers, and in the Christmas season, when it became a creche.
Three edifices had succeeded the first meetinghouse, a thatched fort, and the last, renovated in 1896 and 1939, lifted well over one hundred feet into the air a gilded weather cock that had been salvaged from the previous church and thus dated from colonial times. Its eye was a copper English penny. Deposed once each generation by hurricanes, lightening, or repairs, it was always, much bent and welded, restored. It turned in the wind and flashed in the sun and served as a landmark to fishermen in Massachusetts Bay. Children in the town grew up with the sense that the bird was God. That is, if God were physically present in Tarbox, it was in the form of this unreachable weathercock visible from everywhere.
And if its penny could see, it saw everything, spread below it like a living map. The central square mile of Tarbox contained a hosiery mill converted to the manufacture of plastic toys, three dozen stores, several acres of parking lot, and hundreds of small-yarded homes. The homes were mixed: the surviving seventeenth century saltboxes the orginal Kimballs and Sewells and Tarboxes and Cogswells had set along the wobbly pasture lanes, quaintly named for the virtues, that radiated from the green; the peeling Federalist cubes with widows'-walks; the gingerbread mansions attesting to the decades of textile prosperity; the tight brick alleys plotted to house the millworkers imported from Poland; the pre-Depression domiciles with stubby porches and narrow chimneys and composition sidings the colors of mustard and parsley and graphite and wine; the new developments like even pastel teeth eating the woods of faraway Indian Hill....
Couples, by John Updike (Knopf, 1968).