Living in a small town

Small is as small does. I live in a suburb of Seattle, Federal Way, Washington where it is said that there are 90,000 residents. Compared to Los Angeles that had 6 million when I left in 1996, 90,000 is small to me and I love it here. It is small enough to retain a sense of the values of its citizens, but large enough to find what you need and want. Participating in the community has been a revelation and a joy. It calls to some part of me that lingers in the aftermath of The Music Man.

Tonight I had a conflict in my schedule. As a Precinct Committee Officer, I was scheduled to attend the monthly Republican meeting and our Chief of Police, Brian J. Wilson’s retirement ceremony. I went to the Retirement Ceremony. The room was full of people who had served with him throughout his long outstanding career and to wish him well in his next post as the Chief of Staff for our new Mayor, Jim Ferrell. I got to add my own best wishes and a thank you for Chief Wilson’s service by simply walking across the room and shaking his hand. I was able to do the same thing with our new Mayor and City Council members, as well as other people I knew in the room. What a feeling for a woman from Los Angeles – though I’ve now been a Washington resident for coming on 18 years. I know firefighters, police officers, emergency management personnel personally and I’m on a first name basis with our town’s political representatives. I’ve attended parades, supported candidates, talked with my state representatives about issues both locally and statewide. It feels good to be a member of this community.

22 thoughts on “Living in a small town

      • Indeed it does.

        Much like the spaghetti western of the same name, there was the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. I was a volunteer for most of the time, which allowed me to look back on much of it with bemusement. There was the guy in the print shop who listened to talk radio and showed me a letter from the FBI and a “funny money” printing plate from his middle school days. Then there were memories concerning the city’s public access channel on cable television. As I processed feedback forms for the cable communications coordinator, I found seniors trying to figure out why they couldn’t pick up the channel on their TV antenna, and an answer of “adult videos” from some individual for the question of what content they would like to see. (That one I had to share with Mike, it was too funny.) There was office politics– sadly watching a temp worker get fired for complaining about the public information manager’s editing request that he thought was impossible (I knew when she said, “oh, you tech gurus will figure it out” really means, “I don’t care how you do it, just get it done as I asked”).

        And then there was someone who I greatly enjoyed working with, who very kindly did me a favor even after I’d gone. She was the environmental education coordinator (up until recently, anyways; the retirement of the PIO manager brought some changes to her position) and she promoted our local kite festival as a part of Earth Month. I suggested its current location and brought her and the organizer together to work out the details. When I read a letter to the editor giving thanks for such a wonderful local event (even though that Easter Sunday had near gale-force winds), I knew my involvement had definitely been worth it.

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        • Jak, your comment captures public service well. I glissaded over some of the sausage-making details, which, while human nature, are just not pretty close up. I enjoyed much of my work for state government, but some of the “just for show,” or “gaming the system” was disheartening. I was impressed though with the people I met overall truly wanting to be of good and honorable service. Speaking of which, thank you for yours!

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  1. A population of 90,000 and people are this involved. I find it amazing because this many people sounds like any other city where everyone races from dusk to dawn. You are lucky to live there. I like the sounds of your ‘town’.

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  2. Hunt, I have come to realize that value of civic duty to you. While it may have been a paper conflict, it clearly wasn’t an emotional one. You choose civic duty, you choose to recognize a man for his good works. Works that were real and tangible, you chose wisely.

    Take care, Bill

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    • Well, in truth, Bill, both were civic duties – the good news is my friend Maureen B, who comments here often, is my civic buddy, so we split the time factor, as she is senior to me in the PCO realm – I got the better part of the deal, I think! πŸ™‚

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  3. Good choice. One can always catch up on the meeting of a committee, and probably find an opportunity for subsequent input, but an Event is an Event, and if that is missed there is no returning to it. You have certainly made an impact in the time you have been there!

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    • Laughter, Col – when I decided to get involved locally, I was stunned at how easy it was, how desperate they were for volunteers, and how fast you get to know local officials. I was at a stop light on my way to work, early on, and saw a group waving signs in support of a candidate and just honked my horn in support of them, rolling my window down to shout “Good for you guys!” The candidate turned to look and it was our Mayor at the time, who waved back and yelled, “Hi Hunt! Thanks for your support!” πŸ™‚

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  4. Another point of connection with us Huntie – throughout my years of service with civic government, most of my time was spent working in emergency services. When I lived in Pickle Lake, I was a dispatcher for the volunteer Fire Department!

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