This is most of all the time of year that we must continue in Mason City and North Iowa to reach out to others. As more and more people are living alone, along with new members of our community, I can assure you that their sense of loneliness is more heightened. I have this past year worked with a handful of people moving here from out of State and they all mentioned how friendly everyone seems. This is good, but I would like to see our community being placed on another map, and that is being one of the most friendly cities of our size in the Nation. I am working with a young gentleman from another State and I do everything I can to familiarize him with the good things our community has to offer.
He is intelligent, talented, and really a delightful person. It’s refreshing to find young people who are just plain and simply good. After nearly three months of diligent work on the sale of a home here to yet another young couple who are again absolutely wonderful, I will make sure to stay in contact with them as much as I can because I know for a fact that if we work at encouraging the young to stay here, we are building another generation of pillars. Yes, our community is aging but that as well can be a bonus. I will never as long as I live forget an older couple whom I befriended some 25 years ago who helped me understand the elderly who have so much to offer–if only we would make the time to listen. The husband of this couple used to tease me un-mercilessly at times. Whenever I would stop and visit them and happened to be wearing something new to his eyes, he would say to me, “Whose box of croakers did you pull that out of?” And if I would have dinner with them and his wife would send food home with me, he would say, “Now tell the truth Joe, I know you’ve been throwing out that Cajun cooking before you reach the highway.” Those lines and many more are dearly remembered. They were good people with huge hearts. His wife and I were kindred spirits of sorts. There were great moments of joy and sadness that I experienced with that family. What really surprised me after many years, was that they were extremely selective with whom they considered friends. As a footnote of this article, I know there will be someone reading this who will know of whom I speak and I assure you all that this person will be smiling. Let’s all push away our boundaries and reach out to someone we think is in need of attention; if it be nothing more than a smile that is reaching out.