In October, our little town held its annual Halloween festival. This is a week long ordeal, and the schools even close for two full days.
The first weekend of December marked the start of the Christmas festivities–the annual Christmas parade. Downtown streets were closed for hours, and shop owners stepped outside to watch and socialize because no one will be in the shops.
In April, volunteers spread thousands of eggs in the park for kids to find. They also did several fundraising events to support a renovation of the huge park and zoo in town.
In June, our town honored over 250 Vietnam Veterans with awards that they were never given and a ceremony that never happened when they all returned. Our good friend and neighbor was among the recipients, so of course we attended.
There was a parade, an awards ceremony, and a huge flag.
For reference, here is our full-sized Toyota Tundra under the flag (CAT had to work so he met us in town and I have lucky timing sometimes).
Through all of these events the common thoughts between CAT and I were that “I love our town!” and “I’m so glad we picked THIS town!”
In 2013, when CAT received the official job offer we drove the 350 miles the next day to poke around the area, with the kids and the dogs (only 2 at the time) in tow. It was a whirlwind of an adventure over the next 3 weeks as we decided we were all-in and searched for a house.
In this area, the towns don’t run together like they do in DFW. You typically have 15 to 20 miles, or more, between each town. Purchasing a home at that point is not just about the home or the land, but it also means choosing the town with which you would like to identify.
We had to consider several things, including distance to CAT’s office and the school system. The schools are about the size of the kids’ previous school despite rural spread, because we opted for a town about the same size as we left–10,000 residents. CAT’s office is just 20 miles, which in the city would have taken him between 1.5 and 2 hours. Here, it takes him about 20 minutes. Unless there is a traffic jam, which is a tractor on the road moving between fields.
Mostly, it was about the feel of the town. Each town had it’s own appeal, but this one was charming and quaint. Our realtor was based in this town and she did a fine job with the grand tour. It has a drive-through zoo, a huge park, a water park, great schools, quaint little shops, and lots of rural, Mid-America charm. They hang banners above the streets for every occasion and put up lights at Christmas. They talk to you when you walk into one of the shops, and not just a hello; there’s a full conversation. They are welcoming.
Most of the residents are invested in their town, and the town is invested in its residents. It just felt right.
It has been two years since we chose this house, and it feels even more right. Especially after the goose-bump inducing honor of watching those 250 Kansas-resident Veterans, or family members, walk across the stage.
If you served, thank you for your service. If you are a Gold Star or Blue Star family, thank you for your sacrifices.