There are a lot of things about our mountain community to be upset about, especially if you are recently from California. However, the one characteristic of our community that we all might agree upon is that it really does feel like a small town.
I have said, since I first arrived in 1977, that what makes our mountain town so special is that you get to enjoy the feel of a small town and still have access to all the offerings of a major metropolitan city of 2 million people.
I bet some of us have thought from time to time about moving to a real small town like Livingston, Montana (pop 8000), Sandpoint, Idaho (pop 8600), or Tombstone, Arizona (pop 1307), to mention a few choices.
Now, thanks to the internet and the sudden acceptance of remote working, some lucky folks could move to one of these towns and not give up a career. Nice, since before one would have to give up their six figure income and settle for working in a restaurant.
Hmmm! Something to consider. But that access thing might rear its ugly head. The nearest Walmart could be an hour away. Oh my God, how far away is Home Depot? And the closest international airport might be three
hours. Then, what if you are addicted to major sporting and cultural events? Hmmm! Being only 30 to 45 minutes from all of these things (in Denver) is starting to look pretty good.
What, then, is the attraction of small-town living? Is it the simpler lifestyle? The peace and quiet? The absence of traffic snarls? Well, to some extent, all of those things. But, I think the standout attraction is being part of a small, close-knit community. You like being known to everyone by your first name—the sheriff, the owner of the hardware store, your favorite bartender, the hostess at your favorite restaurant and everyone at the grocery store.
Okay. But wait a minute. Doesn’t that sound like Bailey, Conifer or Evergreen? Maybe we are already living in a small town.
This morning I was clearing the new snow away from our garage doors hoping Mike would show up with his giant diesel truck and snowplow. I have known Mike since his early days at the Little Bear. He’s a real man’s man. Right on cue I heard his truck growling up the driveway. We have never been close friends as in climbing partners or drinking buddies, but it is always comforting to catch up with him.
A few weeks ago, our SSPWaste cans at home were ignored. Using their text line for such catastrophes, I learned that there was a new driver on our route. I immediately knew the problem was that GPS always takes you to our neighbor’s driveway. A pleasant young woman at the main office pledged to get the problem fixed. Then, the real surprise was receiving a call from one of the owners of this local, family owned business assuring me that he was working on the problem. As promised, the cans were emptied on an off-week pickup.
I really like living in a small town.