Diverse attitudes can blend in family, community

By Jonathan Key | Jul 04, 2012

Oh the joys of summer vacation. Hot, steamy days with my toes stuck in the sand and the sand stuck in many other places. Cool breezy nights strolling along the boardwalks of Myrtle Beach watching fireworks in the sky, ghost crabs on the beach and stopping at the “Hot Doughnuts NOW” sign on the way back to the room every night. All the while we are navigating the dance around conflicting personalities between family and friends; all trying to live in harmony in a confined space.

As you may have surmised, I spent last week at the beach with my wife’s family. It is an annual trip we have enjoyed for more than two decades and over the years it has steadily grown from 7 people to 21. What started out as a quiet family retreat has turned into a full blown family reunion with brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces and cousins from three generations and sometimes boyfriends and girlfriends. This has been an object lesson in the value of family time and how quickly it passes. It is important to spend it while you can because all too soon the chance will be gone.

This vacation takes place at a time-share resort in North Myrtle Beach, with units owned by my father-in-law, and as a consequence, in addition to our family, all the vacationers around us are the same set of people who come back year after year. Call them our extended family, we have watched them develop through the years from parents with children into grandparents with grandchildren, and transcend the growing pains that come with life’s experiences.

I mention this simply to reflect the complexity of this group of people with which I was living and how I spent my week observing this diverse group of people from all over the country. I marveled at how they co-existed and although everyone had differing backgrounds and openly expressed opinions, everyone got along.

It reminded me of how exciting it is back here in Haywood County, as the publisher of the local paper, constantly observing the flow of communication between our diverse population of locals from differing communities and out of state visitors who they regularly intermingle with, and how, while we all openly expressing our opinions, we get along most of the time and seek to find common ground with one another.

We all blend together to create this wonderful place we call home and it is an honor and pleasure to represent you through The Mountaineer by reflecting the beauty of this dance we call wholesome mountain living in your home town newspaper.