The Purity of a Community

It is sometimes hard for me not to miss the life I had overseas because, often, it was a lot of fun.

At one point I was writing for a magazine where my job was going to different nightclubs in Taipei reviewing their “Ladies Night.” My work at the magazine was part-time because I lived in Taichung, a three to four hour bus ride away. Back then the train was not much faster. although that has changed. Using the ‘Bullet Train’, a person can be in Taipei from Taichung in an hour-and-half.

The other thing I really enjoyed about living in Taiwan at the time was the feeling of community between almost all ex-pats. We helped each other out. I was lucky to have a venue which was one of the focal points of this community, so I got involved in a few different projects highlighting the arts. We presented live music sometimes, usually a jazz combo or singers. Art shows happened easily once a year at this place. A few movie productions used the place for filming. It was done mostly by ex-pats I knew trying their hand at making films for the local market.

I admit, once I left Taiwan, this sense of being in a community disappeared when I moved to Australia and China. In Australia, my accent had me popular enough with everyone and I had a group of friends who treated me really well while I lived there. But I was an outsider and I was gone before I really got to know the place well.

Shanghai and other cities I lived in China were just too huge to have any sense of community. The city of Shanghai is 25 million people. Can any American truly fathom a city that large?

Moving to Wyoming, I saw there was a sense of community felt by most. It wasn’t really until I began working for the Sun, that I started to get an idea of how strong the compassion to help Carbon County could be from residents and business owners.

I have been to many town council meetings at a lot of municipalities in the county where I see communities come together on an issue on a monthly basis. It is usually excellent to witness.

A few weeks back I would have said I was pretty well versed on the different types of communities’ spirit and their love for Carbon County.

Honestly, I didn’t have a clue how generous the businesses and residents of this county can be until I was involved with an event featuring the museums of Hanna Basin, Elk Mountain and Medicine Bow.

There was a lot of work that went into making this function happen and the directors of the three museums deserve a lot of credit.

What blew me away was how many businesses and individuals from all over the county donated food, products and funds to make this event happen.

Almost every merchant and business who was asked gave items for the benefit’s silent auction. All these places were just incredible with their generous nature and they wanted to help these three museums. Quite a lot of businesses who helped were from outside the three towns because they just don’t have a lot of businesses compared to Saratoga and Rawlins.

I never imagined the food that was created and donated for the event, would be so good.

Good isn’t a strong enough word. Awesome is better.

The Saratoga Sandwich Shop made me truly gasp when I came to pick it up. It had a variety of cheeses, fruits, vegetables and meats which probably could have come close to feeding the whole party. Well maybe not the whole event, but close. Places from Elk Mountain, Hanna, Medicine Bow and Saratoga contributed an array of foodstuffs. A visitor could not help but be impressed.

Who knew Skinny’s in Hanna made excellent lasagna? It does. The Virginian in Medicine Bow donated 12 fruit pies. How can you ever go wrong with pie? You can’t. Next to where the lasagna was being served, Firewater from Saratoga was serving a variety of brats and hotdogs. The condiments were fresh sauces created for the party.

Elk Mountain Hotel donated figs wrapped in bacon and homemade chocolate chip cookies which made me break my no sugar diet. Crossing Café had a Greek dish I had never tried before, but it was tasty and gone quickly. In fact, all the food was delicious and I was really touched by the effort of these restaurants to make our museum event a success.

Punches and tea were made by a guy who takes beverages very seriously. That would be me. I had juice donated from an Elk Mountain store.

The Priest family brought their pet llamas for people to see. They were a big hit.

As I watched the people come and go, I could feel the support for these museums. I got to witness how Carbon County residents and businesses support important events to this county’s culture and I was truly in awe.

The years in an expat community and witnessing residents help their towns, as I reported on it, had given me the false idea I understood pretty much everything there was to know about a community feeling. I thought I had seen it firsthand on several occasions. In some ways I had.

What I experienced as I helped these three museums reach out to the residents of Carbon County for help, along with businesses, was what made community activism.

I saw extremely high bids in the silent auction for some items. Talking to the different bidders, I was told the same answer, ‘it was for a good cause’. They were right. Helping museums, in my world, is a good cause.

Once the event was over and I could look back to see how many businesses and people came together to help these three town’s museums, I came to the conclusion I made the right choice in making Carbon County my home.

I don’t get to go to nightclubs anymore and winter is a struggle for me compared to the tropical climes I have lived before, but watching this event unfold and all the support it was given made me proud to say I am a Carbon County resident.


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