There are a lot of reasons why I love to live out here. This post is going to focus one thing, or perhaps 9,000 things. You see, there are roughly 9,000 people in the county. Today provided me with several examples of the greatness of this place and its people.
With only 9,000 folks we have to be mindful of the value of each person. The pace of life out here is slower than in the Metroplex because we have to visit. Part of working here is visiting here. I visited with the Hospital Administrator, a retiree, a realtor, and a guy that walks around bumming meals and collecting cans. The last guy is a fella that would have been lost in the crowd of folks down on their luck in Dallas/Fort Worth. Here, he is a member of the community that is cared for and protected. I've given him rides in the dead of winter and one Saturday night I made sure the high school boys surrounding him weren't planning to hurt him. (They weren't, they were trying to help him get home.) You could walk into any cafe or coffee shop in Coleman and there would be at least 10 people that could tell the same or similar stories about him.
Today I had to get a fitting for the 100 gallon stock tank that Melissa will be in when she gives birth. When I went to leave the store the truck's battery was dead. It was a seven year old battery, so I guess that was going to happen soon anyway. So Mitchell came to help me. We tried to jump the car, but it wouldn't respond. As I stood there one of the guys that works at this store, a guy that I know by name and who knows me by name, told me how lucky I was in that they have batteries. Now, this is nothing more than good salesmanship, but he helped me swap out the batteries and fixed up the battery connector that was shot. I had to buy the battery, but the extras that were needed in order to make it all work were free. I had to leave to drop Mitchell off at work and when I came back he had finished installing the battery and made sure it worked. This is commonplace here. I have become so used to this level of service and personal concern that I almost feel foolish for writing this. Isn't this how everyone is?
This afternoon there was a grass fire perilously close to our home. As I was driving home there was a roadblock. I shouted out to the cop that I lived just down the road. The cop turned out to be the Chief and he turned and looked at me and said "Yeah, I know where you live, just tell them that I let you through." So I get to the house and get Melissa to take the kids to town to hang out at the church's fellowship hall. They ended up at a friend's house jumping on the trampoline. (Melissa did not participate.) I sprayed the house down with the garden hose while answering three phone calls asking if I needed help since the fire was near my house. The fire department stopped the fire about 500 yards from our house and all was well. As I was loading up the hose to take it back to the old house a truck pulled up with five guys from church. They knew where the fire was and had shown up in the event I needed some help.
Stuff like this is pretty common away from the city. Those of you that are reading this and live in a rural community like Coleman are probably bored or thinking, "duh!" to all of this. Sorry, but I am not writing this for you. I am hoping to let our friends back in the city get a glimpse into what it's like to live in a place without 50 dining options within three miles and movie theaters with 25 screens. Turns out that all we have out here are friends and acquaintances that are willing to help put out a fire, install a battery and just sit around and talk over a cup of coffee.