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Merrill Ogden: Is Sanpete Our World?

By Merrill Ogden - | Sep 15, 2021

Editors Note: Merrill left the “World of Sanpete” and visited the “World of Las Vegas” for the Labor Day weekend.

He watched the BYU Cougars win the college football “Kickoff Classic” over the Arizona Wildcats in the new Las Vegas Raider’s Allegiant Stadium. Merrill did lots of fun things while on his little vacation. What he didn’t do was write a new column. What follows is a repeat of he believes to be a relevant past column.

I visit with “move-ins” to Sanpete once in a while. They obviously don’t all come here from the same place. And, of course, they don’t all have the same attitudes and philosophies of life. Most I talk with are generally very happy with their decision to move to Sanpete.

My wife and I moved to Sanpete 37 years ago. (We’re newcomers/move-ins) We thought we’d be here a short time. As it turned out, we stayed. Our three kids all went through elementary school, middle school, high school and graduated from Snow College here in Sanpete. They went on to USU, SUU and the U of U. They all live on the Wasatch Front now.

We’ve watched Sanpete grow and develop. When we first arrived, there were no traffic lights in the county. Then the world changed. The light in Ephraim was installed. Since then the traffic light count has doubled! I’m living in fear as to when and where a third light will be put into service.

I had a conversation with a “move-in” guy a while back. I wondered what he thought of the area. He’s a professional type. Coming to Sanpete from out of state represented a sizable investment (gamble) of money and emotion. He is generally very happy with the decision to move his family here.

Even though he’s a transplant, he knew and recited the “Sanpete Creed.” Oh, you don’t know the Sanpete Creed? It goes like this: “Sanpete is a great place to raise children. Kids can run free without a lot of worries. The life style is slower paced here. It’s great to live among such good people.”

I waited for “the other shoe to drop” after the compliments. It came. “I just wish that some of the people around here weren’t so narrow-minded. They don’t realize that there is a world outside of Sanpete County.”

I agreed with him that some Sanpeters behave in what could be called a quaint (“narrow-minded”) fashion. I felt that a correction was needed on the second point however. Most Sanpete residents are aware that there is a world outside of the county. It’s just that there are some people here who don’t care to have much to do with the “outside world.”

These people have their needs and wants met just fine right here in Sanpete. They find economic, social, emotional, spiritual and intellectual fulfillment within the boundaries of this county. So, here’s the question: Is there anything wrong with that?

I know seemingly well-adjusted Sanpeters who haven’t been to Salt Lake City for months and months, maybe years. And this was before the pandemic. I know seemingly normal people who hold down good jobs in the county who have never been to Las Vegas, California or (gasp) Disneyland.

Some Sanpeters feel no need to run “North” every other weekend for shopping purposes. I’ve been told by one guy, “If I can’t buy it here, I don’t need it.” (Of course, online shopping changes the world for many as well)

The fact is, Sanpete is made up of individuals who all have their own lifestyles and priorities. We have people who commute out of state for work. We have people who farm the land they live on.

Some people ran away from the crowds of the city to come to Sanpete and are content if they never see traffic congestion and mobs of people ever again. A few “natives” are curious to see the “outside world” and are waiting for the right combination of money and opportunity to venture out for a visit.

I personally enjoy getting away now and again. Ideally, my wife likes to see an ocean at least once a year. I think that’s a good goal as well. (The beach in California is about 9 hours of driving time away)

I like seeing new territory once in a while. I like seeing new faces, driving new roads, and eating in different places. I like all those things. But I love coming back home to the “World of Sanpete” knowing that I’m among good people, raising good kids. — Merrill

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