Saturday, April 7, 2012
The "Keep on Smilin'" Story
It was an ordinary day. Reading online that Lancaster, Pennsylvania has been picked by Gallup Healthways Well-Being Index as the best city in the United States as far as resident's satisfaction with their life, health, work and community. But, I knew that Lancaster was a fun and happy place for years. That's why I have never moved to the Caribbean, yet! Lancaster topped cities such as Honolulu, San Francisco, Boston and Boulder. Wow, playing with the bigboys, aren't we? We won because of the reasonable cost-of-living, quality of our schools, being able to experience all four seasons, and family values. We have it all; city living and shopping, country farmland and smell, art galleries for everyone, pro baseball and neat names for some of our small towns such as Blue Ball, Bird-In-Hand and our most famous, Intercourse. I have lived all my life here and can't seem to leave. Actually don't want to leave. I often thought I could enjoy myself on a Caribbean island where the weather is 85 degrees year round and the water temperature matches that. But, family and friends can't all move with me, so I remain. I do try to simulate the beach surroundings as much as I can in my house and furnishings, but it's the weather that is a killer for me. As I read more of the story I see that Harrisburg, our state capital, is the next PA city listed, with a listing of #49. 190 cities were ranked across the country and is based on US Census Metropolitan Statistical Areas. 781 residents were polled for the survey. I may have been #782, but when my phone showed Gallup Poll in the ID window, I just let it ring. The survey measured 6 areas of well-being: life, emotions, physical health, healthy behavior, work environment and access to services. Are you happy with your job? Are you stressed out or do you smile a lot? Do you feel well-rested? Suffer from headaches? Can you afford food, shelter and health care? Do you have clean water to drink? Do you feel safe at night walking alone? The survey even said that young people who go away to college are glad to come back home to Lancaster to live. Hey, you can't beat that. The online story was accompanied with a photo taken at Park City Shopping Mall where all the walkers go early in the morning to get their morning exercise. And, the more I studied the photo I recognized the one guy in the photo. What a big smile he has on his face. Gordie and I coached little league baseball together years ago against each other. Years later my son pitched for the high school while Gordie's son was the catcher, so we both have many fond memories of Lancaster. That's why we almost always have a big smile across our faces. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy. PS - Gordie is the one with his arms around the two girls in the photo. Just like old times!!