As we pass each other, Sanpeters extend
a hearty ‘Howdy’ or else a friendly wave
Rural communities in general, and Sanpete County in particular, is just flat-out friendly and examples abound. Driving down almost any street in Sanpete, when two cars pass each other, odds are better than even that one or both will say “Hi” to each other, through the five finger hand wave holding the steering wheel, the head nod, the big smile, or if your window is open, a hand wave salute out the window.
Those things just don’t happen in Salt Lake City, Provo, Orem or any of the “larger” cities. You certainly don’t see or do anything like that in New York City or you’re likely to get a hand signal of a very unfriendly sort back in reply.
Of course, Sanpete has its share of rural problems. We have alcohol and drug abuse in our communities (who doesn’t). We have problems with lower wages and unemployment. We get in fights with each other over whether to let deer wander our streets. There’s plenty of infighting between city councils and residents, and we have plenty of just weird people.
But when you look behind the eyes of most people, you see a happy glimmer of friendship. Our cultural community helps this attitude. A lot of Sanpeters are church-going people, and most are tolerant of those with different beliefs. We are encouraged from pulpits to love and respect each other, and the vast majority of us do.
Walking down the sidewalk you see the same thing. We just can’t walk past each other without meeting each other’s eyes, our mouths crinkle up in a smile, and most of say “Howdy,” “Hi” or “Howya doin?” with the Sanpete accent (yes, we have a Sanpete accent).
During the day you see people jogging, ATV riding, bicycling and pushing strollers up and down a lot of streets. The streets are likely to be smoother than the sidewalks in places, so most of us just move along down the street. You see the same thing as evening falls, which is not a common occurrence in urban areas.
You will also see groups involved in service projects around our communities. These are single person things, like someone mowing a widow’s lawn, or larger groups, such as roofing projects, and neighborhood walkabouts where people show off babies and dogs to each other. When someone is fighting cancer or a family crisis, you’ll see benefit concerts and dinners take place.
Being friendly also means supporting each other in adversity. There are a lot of heroes who wear cowboy hats and may wear Levis and cowboy boots to church. We once saw an old fellow in Manti who has been blind for years joining with a group helping to unload a new move-in. Someone just guided him to the back of the U-Haul, where someone else put a small item in his hands, and then he carried it on into the house, then came back for another load. That’s pretty amazing.
Sanpete is basically a happy, safe place to live, and if you have just arrived in Sanpete, it may take you aback. But just join us in our culture, and you’ll find we want to be friends with you, and you can trust us as well. We moved here once ourselves; and we are charmed enough to stay here, even if the weather keeps us on our toes and all we talk about is water.
Welcome to Sanpete, it’s a friendly place to live.