Over the weekend I ran into a local citizen who dabbles in real estate. After some small talk he asked: “How do you like living in Gonzales?”
My first reaction was to say something about still having to sell my house back in Yankee country, but something about it struck me as disingenuous.
“I really like it here,” was my honest answer. “The sun shines all the time, people are friendly, and everyone seems to be happy.”
Then I made him laugh. “And it’s warm here too.”
When I told him that, he roared. “Why, heck, it was 18 dang degrees the other morning. Don’t you know that’s cold?”
Then it was my turn to smile.
“I’m from Michigan my friend. And right now it’s -10 below there, the sun isn’t shining, and there is two feet of snow on the ground,” I grinned. “Last weekend I went up to Minneapolis to spend New Years with my two sons (one of whom lives in Baton Rouge) and it was -19 below with a minus 45 degree wind chill while I was there.
“Heck, this place is downright balmy!”
Well, I have to admit I had to endure his jokes about Yankees coming down to Texas to get some good weather, but we parted friendly. I knew he appreciated the banter.
But not before I added a few more things.
“I am impressed by the politeness people have for each other here,” I said. “Everyone says ‘yes sir’ and ‘yes ma’am’, and that pleases me. That is the way my daddy raised us, but somehow its gotten a little out of kilter where I’m from.
“And everyone I have met here is pleased and proud of where they live and that they work hard,’’ I added. “That’s another value I was taught and people here wear it like a glove. That’s impressive to this working man.
“But I also have noticed that people smile a lot, and they will smile a lot more around you once you have earned your way—that’s cool with me too.”
“All right sir,” he smiled. “I’ll treat you as you treat me and as you treat people in this town.”
“Fair enough, and that’s a deal I can live with,” I responded. Then we shook hands.
When we parted, he thanked me for trying to redo the paper into a local paper that focuses on the people who live, work and play here—those who call this place home. I thanked him, and then I realized that I too was home.