I lived in Los Angeles and the surrounding area for forty-three years. Now I live in a city of a couple of hundred and our neighboring city of 2,256 is the big city where we go shopping.
This dramatic change has been interesting, in my youth I lived in a small town in the middle of no where so I had experience with small town living. My wife did not, having lived in NYC, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Sydney, Dallas and Las Vegas so the change has been much more dramatic for her then me.
When I first arrived in the big city of LA I had just been discharged from the U.S. Army and it was a place that I wanted to be. The weather was outstanding. I had lived as a kid in an area where the winter temp's reached 45 below zero and winter started long before Thanksgiving. I can remember snow drifts that reached up to our roof tops, so the mild weather of LA was a real pleasure.
I started a family there and the school district was very good, no gangs and they actually learned something. I found employment and started living the good life.
The last 20 years that we were in Southern California we lived in Hunting Beach, Surf city and were only a block from Huntington State Beach with it's world class surfing and volleyball. Looking back I can remember going to the ''Golden Bear'' the Huntington Beach pier and carrying my long board to hit the waves.
Our stomping grounds were north to Long Beach and south to Newport Beach, the golden area of Southern California.
When I was ready to retire the area had changed so much that I was no longer interested in it. Traffic jams 24/7 and all the other things that come with explosive growth. High taxes to name just one. It was time to leave the Golden State, and we left with heavy hearts and headed to Henderson Nevada.
We moved into a new home in Henderson in a retirement community. Well kept and vibrant with all the amenities that you could imagine. It was a good life but left us desiring something else, something more.
Then in 2010 we went on vacation to Table Rock Lake in the Ozark Mountains of SW Missouri. We towed our boat and spent a month fishing and exploring the area. We were impressed but it was only a vacation. In 2011 we went back again, towing the boat and spending another month there this time looking around at homes. We stumbled on an town about 25 miles from Branson named Lampe, population a couple of hundred. It was in the forest with views of Table Rock Lake. I then knew that I had found our final home. My wife wasn't so sure, she always had said that she had lived in the country. Her idea of the country was four miles outside of Palo Alto California in the Santa Cruz mountains with Stanford University two miles away. LOL not what I would call country.
We purchased a lot with a view of the lake in the mountains and returned to Henderson and put our house up for sale. Not the best of times to attempt to sell your house in Nevada but three months later it sold to a cash buyer.
Now building in the mountains in a rural area is quite different then building in the city with all it's well planned streets, sewers, lighting etc. My wife was not quite ready for this new adventure and thought that I was crazy for the lot I had picked out. She could not see how we could build something that we would want to live in on the lot that I picked. (I had a vision, she didn't) She had a million reasons that it wouldn't work. The driveway is to steep (we are living in the mountains dear) the house will look funny built on that lot (what's a funny looking house) on and on but she was a great sport and went right into designing the layout of the house. There were many nights that she stayed up most of the night working on the design. Now she is much more of a detail person then I am, I'm a big picture kind of guy so we work well as a team.
One year exactly after buying the lot we moved into our new home in the country. She can't believe that it turned out so well and is in love with it.
Now driving on mountain roads, dirt roads and all the other things that come with country living is really a new experience for her. For me it's just reliving my younger years.
We've been in the house for two weeks and she is in love with it as I am.
We now have space around us, no hurry up and wait, traffic jams are three cars at a stop sign. We don't have a stop light in Lampe. Local restaurants that serve ''family food and BBQ'', people that say Howdy and wave. A bank that knows our name after one visit. The local doctor that allows Wiki, that's our mini doxie, in the office when we have an appointment. She does have a cowgirl hat though.
We can sit on our deck and watch Bald Eagles, Red Tailed Hawks, deer, armadillo's doing their thing. Turkey Vultures by the hundreds and other birds that I don't even know what they are yet. The occasional black bear comes by. All the while looking at the lake and forest.
Having travelled the world over during my business career with stops in 52 countries and having lived in a couple of them I think that I've seen what the world has to offer and it's right here in Lampe Missouri. Overlooking Table Rock Lake and in the Mark Twain forest.
Do we miss the big city? I don't. I'm home and can wander the forest again, alone and in heaven. Fish when I want to and just relax.
The Redhead is moving in that direction and I think that she is falling in love with small town living.
I have great memories of living in LA, San Francisco, Dallas, Sydney Australia and other places but I found my final stop and I'm lovin' it.