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Published April 23, 2009, 03:22 PM

Editorial: Farmington feels like home

I’ve been thinking about this for quite a few days already. It’s a subject that rolls around in my head while I’m out on a walk. While I drive around, when I go to do an interview.

By: Michelle Leonard,

I’ve been thinking about this for quite a few days already. It’s a subject that rolls around in my head while I’m out on a walk. While I drive around, when I go to do an interview. Somehow, after nearly 15 years of covering this community, I’ve just simply come to love this town.

A few weeks ago, I was out on a walk. I live over near the Corinthian Cemetery, so my walks are kind of confined to the east side of Farmington, and part of downtown. My little earbuds were playing my highly eclectic mix of Tom Jones, BeeGees, Dokken and Abba, and I was out on one of my first walks of the spring.

The thing about walking, though, is that you have a little more time to take things in as you pass by. So as I’m making my way past the Farmington Greenhouse, I’m noticing the rows of pansies out front already. I know what is coming, too — me, spending money there, so I can plant my little container garden out front of my townhome. And that makes me smile.

I cut up around near the creamery. Follow Fourth Street to the stop sign on Elm. As I’m waiting to cross the street, four or five cars go by. One honks and the driver gives me a wave. I wave back. I’m not sure who I’ve just waved at, but I catch myself grinning a little.

I cross Elm, find my way down to Spruce Street. Start my trek back home. On Spruce, I look at the houses along the way. I wonder who lives there. When those homes were built. What kind of memories were made there. And I’m struck by the fact that I actually care.

I pass by others on my walk, some families with strollers, others with small children on bicycles with training wheels. We smile as we pass one another. I start spotting patches of grass that is turning green. I notice there’s a bird’s nest in the tree in my front yard.

And somewhere along the way, it hits me: I’m home.

Last week, I approached Nathan and asked him if I could start writing a column on a more regular basis. The reason? Because I think there are so many great things, and great people, in this town, I just want to share stories with our readers. I’ve written a few over the years, but lately, I’ve felt the pull to write a few more columns. Kind of like my own journal, but a journal about Farmington — the things I see, the people I meet, the experiences I have. A little insight into some of the everyday things that make Farmington special to me.

I have only lived here for 12 years now, but I’d like to think I can find some common ground. And maybe, just maybe, someday I can help someone else come to love this town as much as I do.

When I was little, my family lived in Gaylord, a small town in southern Minnesota. It seemed, from an 9-year-old’s viewpoint, that everyone knew everyone. All of us kids had a storm buddy, someone who lived in the country and who would stay at our house overnight if there was a bad snowstorm and the buses could not get them home. When the Jaycees held a fish fry, it was a big deal, and it seemed like the whole town was there.

My family moved to Hastings when I was 12. I graduated from high school there, and my family still lives over there but Farmington is where my heart is. I don’t know how it happened, it just did.

There’s something about Farmington that brings me a sense of peace, much like I experienced in my childhood. Is it that small-town atmosphere? Maybe. A sense of belonging to a community? Probably.

Whatever it is, I love this town.