The beauty of living in an agricultural community like ours is that many people can tell you when their grandparents, great parents, or even great great grandparents came and settled here. The bonds feel strong because people can go back a few generations and find the connections to each other and pieces of land are not that far off.
When I first moved to Buffalo County from the Milwaukee area around three years ago, I remember thinking how the definition of neighbor was different. In my hometown, ten miles away would be considered a completely different side of town. After being here about a year, someone within at least ten to fifteen miles or so of where I live started to become a neighbor in my eyes. I have always enjoyed meeting people from different backgrounds and perspectives and I feel like my transformed version of the definition of neighbor is not only making distances seem closer, but it is also helping me feel even more connected to those I meet here because chances are, they are “my neighbors.”
I felt lucky to be able to celebrate the 4th this afternoon among neighbors at the Buffalo City parade. Personally, it gave me the opportunity to recognize the freedom we have to be here and express gratitude to those that have paved the path to give us the privilege to live and work amongst these hills. As I mingled with people I know and those that I met for the first time, I asked them what they like about living here and some had a hard time boiling their answers down to just a few points.
Gerry: “The scenic beauty is fine, but the people are what make the place.”
Julie: “On top of loving the river, 4-H, living out in the country, and the endless things to do, my neighbors are like family and I feel more at home here than any place I’ve ever lived.”
These friends love the people in their lives.
“My neighbors in town are the best thing about living here.”
“My friends are awesome!”
“I like living here because my family is here.”
Kati: “I like living in a small community where we know everybody and support each other. We grew up here and we wanted our kids to have the same, close-knit experience”