Journey to Jacksonville

By May 14, 2020 Newsletter

Written by: Lori Grable, Board Member and Yoga Instructor

Our beautiful Spring and all of this quiet time has had me thinking about the sweet community in which we live and how I came to join it. Originally a Californian, I did a 9-year stint in Pittsburgh, PA before moving to Southern Oregon in 2012. Pittsburgh was a gritty and sometimes harsh place to live, with long, cold winters and potholes the size of craters. Divided into over 70 diverse neighborhoods with bridges, tunnels, insanely steep hills and old cobblestone roads weaving through them, it is not a user friendly city for newcomers.

Pittsburgh is also a unique city with a lot of pride and an emphasis on family and community. It is a cultural melting pot that offers amazing food, countless opportunities for live music, and great art. It is breathtaking in the Fall, fragrant in the Spring, and most importantly, filled with some of the kindest and friendliest people I have ever met. My husband and I were taken in for holidays by our neighbors and made to feel right at home by just about everyone. Through my job in social work, I visited every neighborhood and was welcomed into the homes of people who shared their stories and even their meals with me. When my little 2-wheel drive car got stuck on snow and ice-covered roads, strangers would come out to help. Once, a woman who was salting her walkway in her bathrobe even came out into the road to throw salt down around my tires and push my car while I accelerated up a small icy hill. It was during the morning rush and she stood there for all to see while cheering me on. Pittsburghers come together during hard times and celebrate together during joyous times (which we were able to experience with two Super Bowl victories in our 9 years).

When it came time for us to move on, we visited a handful of West Coast locations; two of them in Oregon. I still remember our first visit to Jacksonville. My husband had interviewed for a job in Medford and we were on our way to explore the Applegate Valley wineries. Upon one drive through town, a visit to the Pony Espresso, and a glimpse of that summer’s Britt lineup, I exclaimed, “We have to live here!”.

Here we are almost 9 years from that moment, living just outside of Jacksonville. When we first arrived, we were awed by the relaxed pace, the ease of travel (the roads are so smooth) and the sheer beauty of the valley. My runs now take me past farms and wineries and on our wildflower-covered trails instead of through industrial and traffic laden roads. Our 6-year-old son (a native Oregonian) attends Jacksonville Elementary School where he is loved, supported and motivated by an amazing staff. And yes, we love to attend Britt shows! Through my work as a member of the Jacksonville Community Center board, and my yoga classes I have met so many authentic, bright and interesting people and have been warmly welcomed into the community. Once again, I find myself surrounded by some of the kindest and friendliest people I have ever met. And, as I have witnessed during these challenging days, Southern Oregonians also come together during hard times. We will continue to love, support and nurture our community and our small businesses through these difficult times and we will come out on the other side a stronger community for it.

Click HERE for Lori’s Yoga offerings.

JCC

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