As I've watched my friends prepare for their move from Edinburg to Mason, it's been enlightening to hear their comments about what they see in their search.
They were amazed at the number of homes in Mason County that were already so close to the ideal home they were seeking.
They were impressed by the way that every home they looked at was in a true neighborhood, full of neighbors, pets, trees, flowers and yards.
They have been impressed by way everyone they meet is friendly, helpful and kind.
Though they've visited me for years in Mason, and gotten the newspaper, they have been surprised to find that Mason is just as welcoming and inviting as they saw it to be on the surface. They have realized that our goodness goes deeper, and is more genuine, than they could have imagined.
Those who deal in real estate already know that there are many things that potential clients look at, and see, when they visit a property. Does it have enough bedrooms. What about bathrooms and closets? Is there a yard,,,, with trees?
The clients want to know about the water, electric, trash and septic bills. How much, how easy to set up, where do they arrange for hookup? They want to know about where to shop for groceries, home improvement supplies, clothing and sundries. How are the schools? What is the crime rate like compared to similar towns?
When we already live here, we start to take for granted the things that make us attractive to potential new residents. We have become so accustomed to feeling safe in our homes that we have forgotten that not everyone has that kind of security. We know that our small law enforcement staff, volunteer fire department and an EMS staffed with mostly part time employees can meet almost every need we have in order to sleep peacefully at night.
Most of us have only experienced what it is like to move to a new place once or twice in our lives. We really can't count those years of college when the selection of a house or apartment was a premeditated selection based on short term needs and desires. Even those of us who moved away, then returned to Mason, didn't go through the same experiences that someone new to the community goes through when they make their decision to choose Mason as their new home.
And then the move occurs, the moving trucks pull away, and the real task of living in the community has to begin.
The newest residents have to start meeting others in the neighborhood, the town and the county.
They have to figure out what time mail arrives and departs, when stores open and close, who they can call when things don't work. Where do you find plumbers, electricians, builders and doctors? If your car won't start, who do you call?
And then the new residents start to discover the unique experience of small town life.
They run into the people that are teaching their children at the supermarket, at church and at restaurants. The person that sold them dog food has children that become playmates. The bank teller who handled their deposit during the day, sells them their movie ticket at night.
Little by little, the new residents begin to discover the strange and complicated network of professional and personal relationships that make life in a small town possible and pleasurable. And, the existing residents discover the talents and gifts of their newest additions and begin to draw upon them to contribute to the community. They are invited to join clubs and organizations so that they can participate as a local.
There is an old argument in small towns that says "newcomers" move in and then try to change everything. The flip side of that argument is that many people move to Mason and don't want anything to change at all, as they moved here to experience life as they found it at a specific time.
What I have found is that once someone moves to Mason, there is a symbiotic relationship that begins. They draw upon the resources of the community to find a way to fit in and to succeed. They also begin making their own contributions to the town and the county, offering their own knowledge and unique perspectives, and give us all a new way of looking at our own home town.
And then, suddenly and without warning, we all wake up one day to discover that the new residents are just the people next door. Someone else will take on the title of "newcomer" and we'll all work together to find a way to make them part of our extended family. And, we live our lives together as a whole community, moving forward together.
It’s all just my opinion.