I Think We're Going to Love It Here
We were crisscrossing Southern Pines and Pinehurst last -weekend in the family van, looking at potential houses, when my wife said, "How do you know where you're going?"
I'd just turned onto Morganton Road, headed for Monticello Drive and another long-term rental. It had already been a full day of driving from the hotel to my -parents', then on to Pinehurst for the St. Patrick's Day parade and walking around the village.
I am not blessed with an innate sense of direction, so my wife's question about how I knew my way around was all the more striking.
My answer? "I live here."
And with that, it sank in for all of us in the Honda Odyssey that our lives are changing swiftly. Although I'm still temporarily quartered at a local hotel, we have since found a wonderful house we will soon turn into our home. It sits on a street that has a number of young families with children close in age to ours. And it's a mile to Mom and Dad. The good-karma train rolls on.
It's been just about a month now since I said yes to the opportunity to become editor of The Pilot, and every day proves this the best decision we've made in a long time.
This is not a slam on our longtime adopted city of Greensboro, where we lived for 20 years. Leslie and I met and married there, had our children christened in its churches, planned our weekends around its soccer fields and shopping centers. We had an attachment to it. But Greensboro always had an undercurrent that somehow made it hard for those who weren't from there to fit in.
This community and its people, on the other hand, have been gracious and welcoming from the first day.
Twelve days ago in my introductory column, I invited people to drop by and say hey. Much to my surprise, several have, and I invite more of you to do so. At my last job, that sort of thing just didn't happen. The security checkpoint at the front desk made sure of that.
What is it that makes this such a welcoming community? The less -harried pace? The smaller scale? Pixie dust masquerading as pollen? No, I'm convinced that newbies like us are getting the warm embrace simply because so many people here are from elsewhere.
I've found that it's more common for people to have followed their own good fortune to this Eden in the Pines. While I have the benefit of working with some true Sandhills natives, almost everyone I've met has at one time been, like me, driving around town looking for a place to live.
Some might say that this can be bad for a community, that it loses its unique sense of place. Nonsense. No one could walk our towns and villages and say they lack local color and -character. Even the chain-store alleys of U.S. 1 and 15-501 are not without a wee bit of personality.
The real challenge ahead for all of us lies in continuing to welcome the growth but maintaining that which is unique to this community.
That will call on all of us to support what's already in place. While I bemoan the lack of retail luxuries like a Target and a Bruegger's Bagels and a Krispy Kreme, I also have enjoyed my trips inside The Country Bookshop, Vito's, the Bell Tree and Broad Street Bakery. And when the kids get back in town this weekend, The Ice Cream Parlor had better watch out.
It's been going so well, I almost don't want the newness of it all to wear off. I don't want to grow accustomed to this new life, because I worry then that my appreciation might give way to complaint or taking certain things for granted.
I shared this sentiment with a friend, who said, "One day it'll just feel like a job, so cherish this time of excitement and newness."
That sums it up perfectly, doesn't it? After all, isn't that why we enjoy experiencing life through the eyes of our kids? Their view isn't jaundiced. To them, everything is new.
So it's a couple more weeks in the hotel before the moving van brings our belongings and we can claim the reality of our new lives. Then it will be a whirlwind of getting into the swing of a new school, finding a -summer pool, making new friends and building new routines.
Sometimes my wife worries how we'll get it all managed. Relax, I tell her. We know where we're going. We live here. And we couldn't be happier.
John Nagy is editor of The Pilot. Contact him at (910) 693-2507 or -email@example.com.
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