A few weeks ago, I was sent out to cover a story in what felt like the middle of nowhere. I honestly can’t remember what the story was about, but I vividly recall driving down a dirt road, with nothing but country fields all around and blue skies above me. I couldn’t help but laugh.

Five months ago, my commute was soul sucking. I worked in downtown Dallas and getting there entailed at least one hour of crawling down the freeway in my car and another hour on a packed train. Getting home was no different. An hour on the train and an hour in the car. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Rolling down that country road neatly summed up just how different life is in a small town. And I have to say that the change really is for the better.

What I appreciate most here are the people and how much more welcoming they seem to be. Those I crossed paths with while in the city always seemed to be on guard. From my very first day here, virtually everyone I’ve met has been willing to share. People regularly invite me out for lunch and coffee while others have even gone so far as to invite me into their churches, organizations and homes.

Getting around this area also couldn’t be more different when compared to the big city. I remember watching people run after speeding buses and trains. My commute now is the exact same distance as it was to my old job and yet it takes me a fraction of the time. I never have to speed or jockey for position on the freeway. Other motorists are largely willing to let you over and actually seem to understand the concept of merging. People here are simply more patient and seem to recognize the good in taking one’s time.

Our small town and the big city are worlds apart and I couldn’t appreciate the differences more.

Happy birthday Thursday to Sara Mullins, Patty Moss, Frances Sparkman and Jimmy Key, all of Denison; Alyce Boatright, John Hain, Brent Norris, Glenna Eugene, Kimberly Luper, Latise Rutherford, Elenna Eugene and Johnnie Smith, all of Sherman; Lauren Loving of Whitesboro; Tristan Arrington of Gunter; Samantha Allison of Howe; Jennifer Wallace of Luella; Donald Hubbard of Allen; Jametta Daniels of Dallas; Charles Kee of Amarillo; and Philip Wilkerson of The Woodlands.