When I moved to Payson, a friend made a sign for my house that states "Almost Heaven." And that's how I felt. It was a joy to be close to nature again. I could start each day with a walk in the woods with my dogs, and ended it on my back porch marveling at the closeness of the stars.
And my neighborhood brought back the atmosphere of small-town living that I knew as a child. No one hid behind front-facing garages and block-walled yards. I not only learned my neighbors' first names, but their dogs' names, too. We put out each other's trash when someone is out of town, we visit when someone is sick, we even have neighborhood get-togethers for no other reason than enjoying each other's company.
Sure the neighbors' dogs bark from javelina passing by in the dark -- homes aren't always arranged on the property to allow backyard privacy and inside sounds travel through open windows quite easily. But, the sense of community we feel more than makes up for any minor annoyances.
Last week I got a call from the police. Seven "neighbors" signed a letter complaining about my dogs. The "neighbors" didn't send me a copy. They didn't call me or visit or express their concerns in any way to me.
I suppose that's the type of action one has to accept living in a city our size. So, sadly, I've taken the "Almost Heaven" sign down.
Mary Williams, Payson