My letter is written as a response to one submitted by Karen Mingle of Licking Township. I feel a sense of kindred with Mrs. Mingle. In December, it will be three years since I became a resident of the Buckeye Lake area as well. Our moving trucks might have passed each other on the Interstate.
Having lived in the city most of my life, I understand her point of view. It can be very frustrating when all you need from the grocery store is an egg and the nearest one is nine miles away.
I also spend a lot of time on I-70. Two hours a day, in fact, since I live in Millersport and work in Dublin. It makes for a long, long day. When I start to whine about it and my coworkers remind me that it was my choice, as they inevitably will, I smile and think “Yes. Yes it was.”
I chose to move here. Even though I remember coming to Buckeye Lake to the amusement park as a kid, I didn’t choose to move here because of its resort possibilities. I didn’t buy a lake house, though several of my friends have and I certainly enjoy the lake’s recreational resources.
I bought a 100 year-old house. In a neighborhood with folks who walk their dogs and their 6 year olds. Where I can hear the across the street giggles of two of the most beautiful little girls in the world. Where people stop to talk as I rip out overgrown perennials and paint my front porch. Where, just when I’m wondering what I’m going to fix for dinner after a really tough day and a very long drive, I hear from across the fence, “Do you want some chili?”
Every year I stand for hours as the longest parade that I’ve ever seen, populated by every queen in the surrounding three counties meanders down Lancaster Street. This year I had the honor of being asked to help at the Sweet Corn Festival. It seems silly, but it was a proud moment. I was part of this community.
Of course I worry about the economy around the lake. People everywhere are having a tough time, and jobs are not plentiful here. Trust me. I’ve looked. I pray that those who are holding on by their fingertips will be able to continue to do so until life returns to normal, whatever that is. But do I wish for jobs, convenience and easy access to entertainment at the cost of what gives the lake area its personality? Not on your life. Every day during my commute home I feel the stress peel off of me with each mile that I put between Columbus and myself and say a silent prayer of thanksgiving that the city hasn’t found its way out here… yet.