I received emails last week directing me to three local blogs. Each talked about why they live in Columbia and why this is a great little city. Each focused on the business environment, university and colleges or entertainment offered. Each missed the real reason to live anywhere — the people.
My regular readers know that I am a New Yorker through and through. I even twak funny every now and den — when I am tired or have imbibed a bit too much. If offered the chance to move back to the Big Apple (with the right mid-six figure financial incentive), I am gone. Or at least I would think very seriously about leaving.
If you have not has the opportunity to visit “Da City” and your understanding is based solely on “Law and Order” or “Castle,” you are missing out. Stay for a week and feel the world around you.
Oh yes, I miss the ocean. I am sorry, but “The Lake” and the rivers just do not cut it for me. I need real waves and to be able to see the curve in the earth while looking at the horizon.
I also need real mountains. Though I lived in Denver for over a quarter-century, I do not have the same emotional attachment. Don’t get me wrong, I love Denver and Colorado’s Front Range, the weather and amazing energy. I will never tire of waking and looking out at 180 miles of mountain peaks, or skiing in the morning, golfing in the afternoon, finishing the day watching the sunset from the patio of the Emerald Isle Restaurant.
Like the three blogs I read about Columbia, my appreciation and love for my other hometowns seem to be missing something very important — the people.
Without a doubt, New Yorkers are the friendliest on the planet. Oh sure, they are focused and want everything done yesterday, but ask someone for directions or help, and you will get a smile and an immediate hand. Denver is pretty much the same. The big difference in Denver is you can tell the natives from the transplants from the tourists, and there is a thin wall of toleration woven between.
Maybe it is living in a small town in the middle of Middle America but the people here just seem to want to enjoy your company.
Denver is a transient town, people move in and then move out on a regular basis, friends come and go, and contacts are lost too quickly. NYC is just big — OK, huge, and the number of people who live on Peter Stuyvesant’s little island does not compare to the number of people who commute to work each day and then return to New Jersey, Long Island, Westchester, Connecticut, and points further east, north, west and south.
Two incidents brought me to Columbia’s citizens. As some of you know, my family experienced some medical emergencies in the last week. Oh, we are OK now, but we are questioning how much longer we can work before we are no longer able. We also know that filing for Social Security disability is, very nicely, a bear. I have heard that near 100 percent of the initial applications are denied. Not too encouraging. Most suggest that acquiring an attorney to help is the “only” way to file, but … success is not guaranteed.
Most of the attorneys we know deal in personal injury and criminal law and I decided to ask for help via my Columbia/Jefferson City contacts on LinkedIn, a bit over 150 men and women. Who would they recommend? I was expecting a 2 percent return.
More than 50 individuals responded with more than 150 messages in three days; not just suggesting who to contact, but attaching essays and videos on how to file, along with an outpouring of well wishes and support. And the notes continue to come.
I do not stay in Columbia because of the university and colleges, medical centers or business-friendly atmosphere. Not for the restaurants, the festivals or cultural events. Not because Kathy’s family is here (well, maybe). Yes, these are important, but not as important as the caring and friendship of our community.
Columbians are, as another Columbian recently said, awesome. Yes you are.