Two years ago, my wife and I moved to St. George. California’s air pollution was that bad. And Southwest Utah was that welcoming. Our California families thought we were looney.
“You’re not Mormon and you don’t know a soul there.”
“Dad, you’re a retired journalist with a ponytail and a Brooklyn accent— three strikes right there!”
We visited for a week in May, bought a house in June and moved in July. Fast forward: Would we have made the same decision today in this “Age of Masks”? How do you do hands-on homework in a world of keep-your-distance signs, plastic partitions, antiseptic baths and elbow bumps in lieu of hugging your grandkids? We can’t breeze into museums, restaurants or church. We can’t stroll into Dixie Regional Medical Center like two lost souls waiting to see who’ll steer us to the cafeteria.
The basic questions haven’t changed.
Where’s good Italian food?
Why are so many stores closed on Sundays?
And, my wife just broke a tooth, who can help her today?
The pandemic is a time to stream, dream and scheme. You can do virtual tours and drone flyovers on the Internet. You can find somebody’s top reasons why you should or shouldn’t live here:
The temperatures are high, crime’s low.
Population’s growing, the water supply isn’t.
The jaw-dropping scenery makes drivers do insane things.
Masks make it harder to detect a welcoming smile. So, engage strangers with your eyes, the tone of your voice and your body language.
Do your homework at the pandemic’s “essential places”—grocers, pharmacies, hardware stores and Michael’s. Southwest Utah is chock full of polite, engaging people.
If you want to live here, invest in the pioneer experience. Instead of flying into Vegas, two hours’ drive away from St. George, make Salt Lake City your entry. The views on the five-hour drive are amazing. Stop for gas in Nephi, then grab a burger in Beaver. Chat with everybody. And when you get here, give me a call.