When life led us to Enumclaw on a short-term job assignment, I said why not? I am always up for an adventure. Little did I know how much I would come to love this sleepy little town near the mountain. And I wonder – do those who live here know how special it really is?
My first day in Enumclaw I took a walk down Cole Street. Coming from the Seattle suburbs I quickly had to shake off my “city-ness” and marveled that every person I passed warmly greeted me. I was a little leery at first and avoided eye contact but quickly remembered it’s OK to talk to your fellow man, even if you don’t know them. People are nice here. Friendly. They stop and chat. If you need something, you ask. Folks are more than happy to help.
One of the best things I did was join the Enumclaw Facebook pages. One day I received a pop up and it said “There are 4 horses running loose down the street.” Within minutes there were a number of comments from people who had taken their ropes and were going to help. A few days later I saw another. “If you are missing your black one-horned goat, he is in my yard.” Still my favorite. Really? A one-horned goat? And so matter of fact, like a strange goat in the yard is normal business. Every day I would see posts of loose turkeys, pigs and always dogs. Lots of dogs. Makes me wonder if fences don’t exist in Enumclaw.
Day after day I would watch people ask for recommendations, ask to borrow something, and every time there was a solution within minutes. It amazed me one day to see a person post they were going for a trail ride and had extra horses if anyone wanted to come along. The community spirit is big here. Neighborly. I bought a bowl at the art shop where all the proceeds went to the food bank. I was told some cheesy bunny jokes while buying an Easter rabbit at the thrift store that supports the M.O.M bus by a volunteer who truly loves his job.
Traffic is a strange thing in Enumclaw. I have stood in the intersection of Cole and Griffin at noon with not a car in sight. Cars stop to let you cross the street – a miracle where I am from. In my first days I learned, don’t stand on the curb and look at the other side of the road. You’ll stop traffic. I wound up crossing more than once when I wasn’t planning to, just because traffic stopped. But try to go to Bonney Lake or Maple Valley after work and it will be a very slow crawl.
I’ve eaten in every restaurant in town. Several times. And I enjoy each time watching the staff call the customers by name, know their favorites or ask about their family. I’ve learned the names of the baristas at Starbucks, the shopkeepers in town, the clerks at the hotel and they know me, too. I had a nice chat with the chamber of commerce director one day just because I bought a post card. It’s nice not to just be another anonymous face in the crowd.
I’ve learned that you don’t need a lot to be happy. I have lived well in my hotel room. The Dollar Store is a treasure trove of just about anything I could need. The grocery store makes a fine bowl of soup that is a happy lunch on a rainy day. Visiting the chicks and ducks at Tractor Supply is great entertainment. The Pie Goddess truly does fix everything except my waistline.
I’ve seen some pretty amazing rainbows. And when the sun comes out the mountains are spectacular. Enough said.
Sure there are issues in Enumclaw. There are homeless. I am sure there are drugs. There is poverty and everything the world is struggling with now. But at its core I have seen that there is still a kindness and decency and desire to be a community in Enumclaw. I think it’s something that is not all that common anymore.
I have a month or two here before the job is done. I’d love to move here but my other half says no. Our lives are somewhere else. But for these last few months I’ve been happy to call Enumclaw home. It’s been a nice reminder of what a town can be and I hope you don’t lose sight of that. And you have really great pie.