Numbers add up to make Grand Junction a great place to call home

My wife, Amber, and I walked into the Mesa County Department of Motor Vehicles office over the lunch hour the other day to finally get our Colorado license tags. We pulled Number 34 and took a seat.

The clerk called out, “Nineteen. Next up. Nineteen.” We slumped in our seats, preparing for a long and painful DMV experience. Abu Ghraib might have been more inviting.

“Number 20.” Number 20 consumed an obscenely long time. Number 20 apparently wanted to perform a sophisticated licensing “transaction” only mob lawyers can accomplish. This was not going well.

“Twenty-one.” More of the same.

“Twenty-two.” Ouch.

Then, after a few more numbers trudged by, something extraordinary happened. A woman approached us and offered us her place in line — Number 31.  “You folks look busy, and I’m in no hurry.  Here, take my place.”

My wife and I looked at each other, both disbelieving what just happened. Then Amber summed it up: “That’s Grand Junction.”

Yes it is.

There are good folks here. Maybe it’s the healthy lifestyle. Maybe it’s because a large number of residents are recent transplants themselves. Maybe it’s the easy access to the outdoors and the reliable sunshine. Maybe there is something in the peaches.

Whatever the reason, we have felt the embrace of this community in a sincere and genuine way.

You can’t fake that stuff, you know. It’s real.

Sure, we have been here all of four months. But in those four months, we found a lot to like about the Grand Valley.

We found that September afternoons in Grand Junction offer world-class porch time.

We found that a $4,000 bicycle atop a $1,000 car is a badge of honor.

We found downtown Palisade ... and we are headed back. As soon as possible.

We found that making friends with neighbors pays dividends in the form of shared garden vegetables and good conversation.

We found that the Western brand of independent here does not want to be pigeon-holed into any political party.

We found that the steps from Mary’s Loop to Horsethief Bench should not be ridden by mountain bike. Ever.

And we found that a visit to the DMV does not have to be a root canal. (We did not, however, walk out of the DMV with new tags, in case you thought this was a piece of fiction.)

But most of all, we found home.

***

Amber went back to Kansas City last weekend to visit family and friends. She called every night to touch base, but in each call she ended up explaining how much she missed Grand Junction and our new friends.

When she returned to Grand Junction, she walked back in the house, stopped in her tracks with bags still in hand, looked around and declared that she was home.

That’s good news in my little world. Thanks, Grand Junction.


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