The City of Winters is a small town. For the most part, that is a good thing. I like it small so when I walk down the street I know most of the people that I will meet along the way. If I don’t know them personally, I know who they are because I have seen them around. The longer you live here the more this is true.
I go out of my way to acknowledge everyone I happen across with a, “Hello” or just a wave at a distance. I like doing this because that is really the only way you can meet someone that you don’t really know. I can strike up a conversation at any time or place in my little town. That’s just me. My wife Therese thinks I’m a little crazy because I can tell my entire life story to a stranger in 10 minutes.
There are a lot of people in this town that are just like me when it comes to being open and friendly. Like me they go out of their way to be honest, courteous and helpful. They want to meet happy people along the way and like me they will go out of the way to keep others happy and smiling. I truly believe that this is so.
At one point I had a lot of drama in my life, and I was not a happy customer at all. I had a chip on my shoulder that was as big as my head. Why, I didn’t even like myself. However, thanks to the everlasting efforts of the Winters Police Department I received an attitude adjustment that I sorely needed. Being away from your loved ones for a while will open your eyes about a lot of things that went unnoticed because of all that drama you are involved in blocked it from view.
Knowing a lot of people in a small town will expand a small life into a huge life. We find that we are all in this life together with its loves, struggles, happiness and sadness all shared between us. Just knowing this makes our lives larger on a grand scale. We become greater than ourselves. We share happiness, love and alas, sadness.
When one of us loses a daughter to cancer or a son to a freak auto accident it affects us all in the worst possible way. When one of us suffers the rest of us want to take just a little bit of the pain and if enough of us take some pain we hope that it will help those that suffer the most. Suffering is everlasting. It never goes away. In my travels around Winters or working down at Putah Creek doing what I do with the trees and plants when I encounter those who I know are suffering, I am suffering too and the passage of hours, days, or years does not make it any less painful.
Change comes slow in a small town. Take our beloved Winters Express newspaper for instance. It seemed nothing changed for years and years, the same news and the same people writing the news. We liked it that way and since most of us don’t like change, we wanted to keep it that way. Well as we all know so well, change will come anyway whether you like it or not. It is easy for us to be critical of change; some even want to stop it in its tracks.
No one loved the old newspaper more than I did but I think I will love the new newspaper just as much. Like the people I meet on the street, I want the new newspaper to flourish and grow. The affection and respect I had for the old newspaper people is still there in my heart, but my heart is big and there is plenty of room for some new newspaper people and I am eager to see what they will do with the paper. I find it hard to be critical and I fail to understand how others can be so angry because these new people did not come with malice in their heart and it is their paper now and I find that exciting. We tend to forget that at one time we were new people too.
Change can be a hard thing that cannot be stopped with any ease. As I grow older I find that this is true. If you wish to be part of a life that is greater, give love to our local businesses, large or small, for they are all part of the greater life too. When change comes it comes from us. Embracing the change will help my life grow because that what change does. It’s like mixing mulch and fertilizer with soil. It gives us the strength to adapt to a world that is changing faster and faster every day.