Moffat County Locals: From the Editor — What’s a local?
When I was younger — much, much younger — I worked for a Korean gentleman named Mr. Lee.
Mr. Lee was one of the most intelligent people I’ve ever known, and he was constantly working to learn new things. Particularly fascinating to him was our language — a language he’d learned and adopted as a boy when his family emigrated to the United States — and though his English — to my ear, at least — was very nearly perfect, he was always looking for ways to advance his mastery of it.
To that end, he frequently came to me with questions and observations about the language, and occasionally, a general complaint.
“Mr. Patterson!” he called from his office one day.
He never once called me “Jim.” It was always “Mr. Patterson,” with him, and every time I heard it, I unconsciously glanced around to see if my Dad had come into the room.
“I do not understand in English why the same word can mean so many different things,” he continued, his irritation coloring his tone. “Like ‘post.’ You post a guard, you go to the Post Office to mail a letter, you put a post in the ground. All those things are different, but word is the same. In Korean, one word means one thing —nothing else.”
He uttered a deep sigh. “English is very strange and confusing.”
This seemed more like a general complaint to me, so I didn’t really know how to answer him, but his observation stuck with me from that day forward.
English is very strange and confusing, and the same word can mean a plethora of different things depending on context.
And that’s what I started thinking about when I considered the word “local.” If you look it up in the dictionary, you’ll find several different definitions, a fact that would probably have driven poor Mr. Lee straight up a wall.
But here in Moffat County, we know exactly what the word “local” means, especially in the context of the publication you currently hold, and it means a lot more than any definition you’ll find in the dictionary.
Locals are the glue that binds a community together. They’re the folks we see every day, the friends and neighbors who share our struggles alongside our triumphs. They’re the generous, giving individuals who are always willing to step forward and help a friend in need, who make this town and the county that surrounds it more than just a mark on a map or an organized collection of bricks and mortar.
Without these people — without these Moffat County locals — would we even have a community?
I really don’t see how.
So, once a year, we put together a publication designed exclusively to spotlight some of those people — people who may not often make the news, but whose contributions to our collective sense of belonging and well-being consistently make Moffat County a welcoming and appealing place to live and work.
Not all of us were born here, but all of us choose to be here, and I strongly suspect that’s because we’re a caring community, a giving community.
A community of locals.
So, as you read these stories, we invite you to reflect on all the blessings that make Moffat County a community, not the least of which are the people who call our little corner of the Yampa Valley home.
You, Faithful Reader, are one of those people, and we thank you for being our friend, our neighbor … our fellow local.
Jim Patterson is editor of the Craig Press.
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Just like you, I live with the fear of wildfire. My southern Oregon town of Ashland nestles against the foothills of the Siskiyou Mountains, whose forests become tinder in our hot, dry summers.