Pilot Editorial

Monday, June 24, 2002

Through the eyes of a stranger

Our staff had occasion this week to sit down with some families of new orientation students at BVU. It's a rare opportunity to see our community through fresh eyes.

One of the risks of being so familiar with our home is to take much of it for granted. We admit to seeing the negatives at times, because we have come to expect the overwhelmingly positive.

A man from New York State wants to know how a stretch of beach got there. We didn't know. Never mind, he says, did we know what we have in the lovely lake, the surrounding scenery, the amazing parks?

Um, yes, we think so. But it's nice to be reminded. Storm Lake gets its share of criticism, but that comes mostly from people in competing towns who probably secretly wish they had a fraction of what we do.

Through eyes that have never seen it before, it shines. We should be proud of that.

An African-American woman from East St. Louis wants to push the editor's blondish kids in the park swing, and they instantly fall in love with her.

What an awesome university campus we have in Storm Lake, she says. How can it be that only a state away she has never heard of this wonderful little city and this booming campus? Probably because we haven't promoted the way we should.

Compared to her urban home, it is quiet, green, open, inviting, surprising, and so friendly that she said she found it impossible to pass anyone on any sidewalk without getting a friendly greeting.

What is that old saying our grandparents used to use? "There are no strangers, just friends we haven't met yet."

The newcomers remarked on how a small town can boast many nationalities, and how they all seem to get along well. How everything seems clean and well kept-up. One mentions that he saw churches outnumber bars several times over.

It does the spirit well to hear what we in Storm Lake already know, but sometimes forget to appreciate.

Welcome to all of our summertime visitors. You will be our best ambassadors, and in return, we will do our best to make you feel at home.

Let's do it with pride.