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Sanpete: What’s not to like?

By Merrill Ogden - | Jan 11, 2023

Some people tell me that I am too optimistic in my attitude about life here in Sanpete County. They think that I’m unrealistic in how I “beat the drum” all the time about this being a great place to live. Some say I go overboard with it.

I suppose that I must plead guilty to those charges. I do happen to believe that Sanpete is a distinctive and special place to call home.

I do, however, enjoy traveling and visiting other places. For example, I get to St. George once in a while. Many Sanpeters like to take off for a break down there in the sunny south. That place seems to be continuing to grow fast.

Back in 1871, Brigham Young curiously directed that the St. George Latter-day Saint Temple be built southeast of the existing town in what was a marshy bog. The fulfillment of Brigham Young’s statement (“prophecy”) that the location of the St. George temple, would be in the center of a city is more and more evident as time goes on.

We have an LDS temple here in Sanpete in Manti. It’s a draw for some people who move here. It’s being renovated at the moment, but will re-open within a year, so I hear.

And, of course, wonder of wonder, a second Sanpete temple is under construction in Ephraim. I’m not sure how fast our population is going to increase in Sanpete, but I hope it doesn’t get as congested and busy traffic-wise as St. George has become.

Like I often say, it’s always fun to get out and away. But, it’s always nice to get back home to Sanpete.

Sanpete is a “club” of about 30,000 people bonded by the obvious fact that we work and play, and live and die together. We have connections with each other. I suppose that this isn’t a unique phenomenon. But sometimes it feels that way.

I do believe that there are special feelings of camaraderie among our population, which bind us together. We sympathize with each other during the bad times and celebrate and congratulate during the good times. We are enough alike, regardless of differences, that it’s not too much of a stretch to call us one big Sanpete family. To a large degree, we know each other.

Now, having said all of that — let me think for a moment. Is there a flip side to this opinion that Sanpete is so dang wonderful? If I were asked, “What don’t you like about Sanpete?” — what would I say?

Here’s my list of some of my possible answers to that question:

Things I don’t like about Sanpete:

1) I put my foot in my mouth too often by offending people who are related to someone I’m talking about. (I’m still learning that I need to check the genealogy of people I’m talking with before I say something naughty about someone else. I know, I know — I should just stop saying naughty things about people.

2) I’ve just about memorized the wardrobe of everyone in the county.

3) Unless you build a new home, you are always going to be living in “the old Peterson house” (or whatever name is relevant).

4) No international airport.

5) No chairlift up Fairview Canyon for skiing/snowboarding.

6) No speed limits above 65 anywhere.

7) There are two too many traffic lights in the county (When the first traffic light was put into service in Ephraim, I knew that our world had changed. When the second county traffic light was installed in Mt. Pleasant, I was disappointed. I could no longer jokingly give driving instructions to people and include the phrase “when you get to the light.” They would say, “What light?” – to which I’d respond, “The only light. There’s only one traffic light in the county.”)

8) I can’t keep track of all the Scandinavian named people in Sanpete. (Olsen, Larsen, Jensen, Christensen, etc. It would help if people with these surnames would give their children unique or unusual first names. Old style Native American names could be used. If someone asked if I knew Running Bear Olsen or Little White Dove Christensen, I would know immediately whether I knew them or not. As it is, if someone asks if I know so and so Larsen, I often have to think hard about it and sort through the various family trees of that name.

9) No all night restaurants. (Oh well, Denny’s isn’t all that far away in neighboring counties – as Sanpete’s youth prove over and over again)

10) People who move here to live in the country and then complain about country living. (Like people who make lists like this)

So now you know. I am not completely, one hundred percent happy with life in Sanpete. But you can see that some of my unhappiness is in the realm of sarcasm.

I keep telling people the astounding fact that you can get to anywhere in the world from right here in Sanpete. And as long as I can get out of the county once in a while, I’ll be happy to keep coming back to Sanpete as home. — Merrill


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