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It’s nice to see things getting back to “normal” after the big winds came last week and did considerable damage in our valley. It blew chairs and things off our back deck, but the rest of the house and yard came through OK.

I was awakened by the wind in the early morning hours and turned on all the outside lights, but other than the things blown off the deck, we fared well. My morning walk with our dog, JJ, was later than usual, and we encountered a few barriers as we walked toward the road to Green Canyon. We turned around and went home where it was safe and sound. Sadly, photos and posts on Facebook showed considerable damage around Logan and the valley.

What did you do on Labor Day? Labor in your yard getting it ready for winter? Having a yard with lots of flowers, pretty trees and green grass doesn’t just happen, but the efforts pay off in the long run. I’m glad we live in Northern Utah with seasons changing and where steady growth is occurring. Logan and Cache Valley are growing and expanding in every direction.

We had a neighborhood ice-cream social recently on the lawn where our yard connects with the Congers, our great nextdoor neighbors. All of those in our area were invited, and most came and socialized. It was a very special gathering.

The other day I was sitting in the shade of the big trees south of our house with JJ. He loves to be outside, even with the long leash we have on him so he will stay in the yard. A large pheasant came meandering among Jane’s flower beds. One bark from JJ and the pheasant disappeared. We have so many butterflies, too, this year.

USU continues to expand and has been successful with online courses as well as some classwork on campus itself during this challenge of COVID-19. It’s the main item in the media — the latest count of cases, deaths, and hospitalizations. Some report progress with vaccinations, but further wide-scale conquering of this virus has yet to be part of reality. Hopefully it will happen soon.

September also brings Rosh Hashanah, which begins on Saturday, the 19th. This leads up to Yom Kippur on the 28th. Unless you are Jewish or have lived in an area with many Jewish people, you probably do not know what this is all about. Rosh Hashanah literally means “head of the year.” It is the Jewish New Year. The biblical name for this holiday is Yom Teruah. I learned some about this when I lived in New York City and did postdoctoral work at NYU. Our closest neighbors were Jewish, and they explained what it was all about. At least now when you see it on the calendar, you’ll know why it is an important day for those who follow the Jewish faith.

I respect all religions and faiths. While growing up in Magna, I had many friends who belonged to the Greek Orthodox faith and others who were Catholics, Baptists, and of course in Utah, Mormons or members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. While living in New York City, I also had good neighbors and friends of other faiths and some who did not affiliate with any religion. There are many fine people living on this earth who don’t affiliate with any religious faith. According to Wikipedia, “Membership in major religious groups include Christianity (31.2%), Islam (24.1%), unaffiliated (16%), Hinduism (15.1%), Buddhism (6.9%), folk religions (5.7%), other religions (0.8%), and Judaism (0.2%).”

We have some friends who moved to Utah because they wanted to live among the Mormons. Utah is listed in statistical data as one of the safest places to live. Logan has one of the lowest crime rates in the nation. There are just good people who look in on their neighbors if they don’t see them out of their homes for a while. A phone call, a visit, watching for a package on their doorstep if they are out of town — that’s a good neighbor.

Did you ever watch “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood” when you were growing up? You may have seen the movie that came out last year. The actual title is, “A Beautiful Day in The Neighborhood,” with Tom Hanks portraying Fred Rogers. It’s a great movie, and I highly recommend it. You can get it on any of the movie channels. Sure brought back the memories for us and our family of nine children.

As I write this, our neighbor Becky Conger has brought over a sack of tomatoes from their garden. We sure enjoy being neighbors with the Congers and all of the others who are moving into this part of Logan. New homes are going up in every direction. If you haven’t driven around USU lately, take a look at all the new townhomes being built east of the Triads — or Aggie Village as it is now called. And we’re told that a whole new subdivision will be built in the future across from the Foothills gas station on 1400 North. The neighbors above the canal further east on 1400 North are hoping the Logan Light and Power substation proposed for their area will now be built near the gas station. Other options include one of the many acres of land USU owns around the new Old Chicago Pizza restaurant or around all the agricultural and space research buildings. USU continues to expand farther and farther northward — think future, not experience!

Perhaps this last “big blow” will help us anchor more things down outside. Remember, “Stuff is replaceable; people are not.”

Jay Monson is a former educator, and also served on the Utah State Board of Education, Cache County Council, and Logan City Council. He may be reached at monson.jay@gmail.com

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