I have just finished conducting an unofficial survey of Ketchum's shops for the dynamic new initiative in town that everyone will soon be talking about called Community Rising. (Watch this space!) Like many of my friends, I realize I've got into the habit of grumbling about the many changes we've seen since we moved here nearly 20 years ago—but the last couple of days have changed all that, because I've fallen in love all over again. As I walked along streets bright with flowers and colorful parasols and inviting benches on which to rest and watch the passing bikers (so many bikers!) and visitors strolling in the sunshine, I saw again what a uniquely charming little town this still remains. And then, as I began to visit the shops and talk to owners and assistants, (all of whom received me with the greatest courtesy and charm) I realized something even more important: I saw how incredibly blessed we are to have these vital, hard-working, professional, dedicated, friendly people doing so much every day to keep the wheels of our community turning. Un-sung heroes, one and all. My survey took much longer than I'd anticipated, because (not actually being much of a shopper myself) I was meeting so many delightful people for the first time—and finding it hard to tear myself away and go on to the next shop!
So next time I—or a friend—starts moaning about all the banks and real estate offices and McMansions cluttering the valley, I shall remember all those smiling faces I've been encountering, and the great conversations I've had with so many 'new best friends,' (you know who you are). And each time I bike past all the tubs and baskets overflowing with flowers and watch the happy people going in and out of shops and sipping coffee under parasols (Paris, eat your heart out!), I'll raise my eyes over the rooftops to the colorful paragliders drifting like exotic birds in the blue sky over Baldy—and I shall count my blessings.
And to all of us lucky enough to live in this special place, I say—remember to do the same thing. Falling in love is so—lovely!