You may not have chosen it, it may have chosen you. Or it could be, you came to Carbon County because of work that was available, or a family situation which required you to be here. Regardless of the reason you are here, hopefully you have made the best of it.
Last week The Eagle, the College of Eastern Utah's school newspaper published its last issue of the school year. Traditionally this is the issue in which the freshman on the newspapers staff start to talk about the next school year and the graduating sophomores wax on about their experiences in Price and eastern Utah.
I try to read each and every issue of The Eagle because it gives me a different perspective on the community we know as higher education in our area. But I always find this final issue of the year most interesting because, being the last issue, the student journalists often get things off their chest that they have not been as willing to let go of before.
Some years the departing writers blast the area for not having enough to do, for Price being kind of a "hick town", and for the local culture here. This year however was predominantly different from that. Most had a good feeling about the area and the people they had met; not all but most.
I guess what I found very interesting was how many of the writers say their attitudes about eastern Utah has changed since they began school as a freshman at CEU. Some said they just didn't know what to expect; some thought that living in a little town after living a big city all their lives would be weird and tough; others said the parents had not really wanted them to come to school here.
Regardless of their initial feelings, however, most were leaving with love (or at least a liking) for this place in their heart. For them to gain this kind of respect for an area many of them never knew much about until they came here is a big plus for Carbon County. Sure some of them cited shortcomings of the area as well, but in some ways those kinds of things seemed to endear the area to them as much as drive them away.
Recently I visited my sister in Dallas, Texas for a week. Her and her husband have lived in Texas for about 12 years. Before my brother-in-laws career in the cellular phone industry, he had been in the military for over two decades. Over those and subsequent years they have lived in places like Panama, Hawaii, North Carolina, Kentucky and others. My sister told me that, when they moved to Texas, she never expected much, In fact, she was sure she would not like it.
Today, they have a bumper sticker hanging from the wall of their home office that says, "I wasn't born in Texas, but I got here as fast as I could."
They have come to love Texas and admire its good qualities.
I have often heard many local people, many who were born here, complain about Carbon County and eastern Utah. They say we don't have enough of this or that or too little of this or that. I say to them, wake up and smell the rabbit brush.
No place is perfect for everyone or anyone. I am a transplant here, coming to the area 19 years ago after living in Salt Lake most of my life, but also having spent time living around the state in various places and in southern California for a while.
While some who live in Utah consider this place to be a gas stop to Moab, I call it home with pride.
Once I have uttered the line about home, unless they ask, I don't tell them I am not a native. I love this place.
When people who come to a place for a set amount of time for some specific reason can leave that area saying it is a pretty good spot to live, we ought to take note. There are many Utahns who can't wait to get the hell out of this state, but using my experience and others I have talked with, it is what you make of it. No state has more natural beauty, but no state has such a unique culture as Utah does either; a culture that sometimes turns many people away.
You can talk about a church run state, or odd liquor laws, state senators who are bigots or one party control of government. But regardless or maybe because of those things, this is a great place to live.
Neither this state, nor this area is perfect. But just the same, we should take pride in our place in the sun, in this state and in the people who make up Carbon County.