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Adapting to a new community

After reading how a couple who moved here from California and now simply hate being here, I was reminded of this story.

A woman was interested in retiring and moving to a new part of the country and she went to investigate areas. After she had her lunch in a small diner, as she checked out, she asked the proprietor, “What are the people like in this community?” The owner replied with a question: “In the area where you live now are the residents friendly?”

She replied, “They are back stabbing, gossipy, malevolent individuals who don’t care about anyone but themselves.” The cashier replied, “That is exactly what they are like here too.” That helped the visitor to decide right then and there that she would not be moving to that community.

The other diners overheard the conversation and they felt bad. They wondered what they had done to upset the business owner. After all, they frequented her establishment every day that she was open and each person always bought considerably more than just a cup of coffee. She was always pleasant to them and they reciprocated. The dichotomy was the topic of many early morning coffee klatches at the diner.

“Pullquote.”

Once summer got into full swing, the diner was busier by the day. The regulars enjoyed watching the tourists and guessing what their occupations were. One morning a 30-something couple bounced in early and animatedly inquired of the lady hostess “What are the people like in this community?” The owner replied with a question: “In the area where you live now are the residents are community minded, helpful and friendly?”

“Yes, they certainly are. The town is about this size. When we want a park, a bunch of able-bodies get together and make one. Someone always comes through with what is needed.” The hostess replied, “That is exactly what they are like here too.”

The moral of the story is, of course, you get what you expect.

The only problem with people moving to a new area to get away from things they didn’t like, is that often they start to think of the parts they did like before — and they proceed to try and push their ideas onto the new community. When the locals have lived in a place for years, sometimes generations, the last thing they want is big changes. They live where they do because they like how it is. It is not because they are backward nor provincial, they just like it. When they want something different, they can travel and then come home. Once you get acquainted you may be surprised to learn that many have studied and lived abroad, speak a second or third language or moved around the world with the military or as civilians. Yet when it came time to put down roots, they returned. Just because they live in a small county and love it, does not mean they are hicks. Instead of new residents trying to change their newly adopted community, they should learn from those who already appreciate it — and adapt — to the new reality. ❖


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Peggy Sanders

Landmarks and cowboys

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Our ranch is on WG Flat, one of the landmarks of the early cattle ranchers on open range in southwestern South Dakota. The WG Ranch headquarters is one-half mile from our home. In the distance…



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