I had always planned on going back to the Southeast coast once I’d graduated from BYU. I’d wanted find an old white house with a wrap-around porch in a sleepy beach town. I could see it all in my head. I’d wear white linen, flip-flops and straw hats as I cruised around town on a bike with a basket. And I’d earn my living traveling the world writing for magazines like Conde’ Nast and National Geographic.
But like most of my best laid plans … that just didn’t happen.
When I graduated, God led me elsewhere. He showed me His best laid plans. And though at times it’s hard for me to live in a desert (mostly on days like today when the air’s so cold it hurts), I’m grateful for where He’s led me.
Most people don’t even know our town exists. Situated across the railroad tracks on the west side of the freeway, it’s a charming “Mayberry-like” place that sits quietly on the shores of the Great Salt Lake. Dotted with pastures, it’s not uncommon to see families riding horses down the street, chickens trailing. Children race their bikes to school and the crossing guard who tends to the corner of 8th and Pages waves to everyone on their way to work. A cow and a family of goats live at the end of our street. We’re all friends here.
And every few weeks, on a night like tonight, the citizens of our town gather together at City Hall for an evening of music. Frit and I breezed in just a little late this month and it was standing room only. Tonight was country-western music and cowboy poetry and everyone turned out to see the show. Children ran around in the back, grey haired couples sat holding hands, a few wore their cowboy hats and boots. Everyone was smiling. Laughter and chatter filled the hall.
We stood in the back soaking it all in. The goodness of community. The friendship of a small town. We clapped for the poets and sang with the crooners. I cried when the young Soby girl sang “Proud to be an American” and swelled with love for this city I’m making home. I’m happily a small town girl I’m afraid.
If only this place had an ocean.