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Small town pride continues to carry on in Bemidji

"I've been here and I've been there, but I prefer it here." I remember hearing or reading this quote somewhere in the past, but not where or when and it's by no means mine.

The "here" is in reference to Bemidji, a place where a person comes back home and returns to the amiable people who reside in the area. A place where owners of vending machines go out of their way to find you and refund your money after you report its malfunction; the employees at the hardware store re-keys and re-sets your house door locks because he knows you and you don't have to buy new ones; the local guys (that don't know you) at the computer repair facility on the corner plaza, look at your machine for half an hour -- free of charge -- and let you know what's wrong with it, whereas the personnel at the local "chain store" where you bought it, wouldn't touch it; drivers don't blast their horns or give you a universal gesture, namely, the "one digit salute," if they think you're driving too slow; drivers apply their brakes when small animals cross the road, and so this list could continue. People demonstrate basic acts of courtesy with one another as easy as simply holding the door open for another person and are able to maintain a decent sense of rapport with one another. That feeling of a sense of community/small town pride continues to carry on.

Summer comes to its too-soon end and autumn approaches all too quickly. Time once again to say "adios"/so-long to home/to "B Town" and go back "there" to the southwest where I live and work.

In his book, "On the Road with Charles Kuralt," he writes, "Minnesotans are nicer than other people. The farther away from the big cities you go the nicer they are. Ely is about as far away as you can get."

My guess is Mr. Kuralt didn't pass through here.

Scott Lee

Tucson, Ariz.