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March 26, 2013

BEAM: Back home again in Indiana

(Continued)

And the culture! Filipinos, Japanese, Chinese and people of every other ethnicity lived side-by-side without hate or conflict. My children grew up as a minority in this community, a positive experience I know will shape their values and views for their entire lives. As his classmates wince in disgust, my 10-year-old can still down more sushi than a killer whale. 

So why exactly did we leave this island paradise? 

No place in the world can compare to Indiana. 

Sometimes it takes going away on an extended journey to really appreciate the beauty of your hometown. Our area remarkably fuses Midwestern sensibilities with Southern hospitality. Drive along a rural road in Clark or Floyd counties and you’ll see this in action. 

Part-time farmers tending their fields will wave at passing cars, even the ones with Kentucky license plates. Families gather on front porches to celebrate births and graduations and the occasional state championship win. Anyone can stop on by for a tall glass of sweet tea and an even taller telling of some old-time stories. 

With that smooth yet twangy drawl, speech is slower here, as is the pace of our cities and towns. Still the warmth of the people embraces you like granny’s old handmade quilt on a cold winter night. 

Hoosier pride isn’t just some enigmatic saying. You can see it in the smiles of the local mail carriers and in the laughs of our retired men and women at the old coffee shops. 

Of course, worldly problems still exist, a whole lot of them. Just because you’ve been born a Hoosier doesn’t mean you’ve died and gone to heaven, although it might be close. But this strong sense of community sure does make dealing with those issues a whole lot easier. 

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