There are good people everywhere


Here in Iowa we pride ourselves on being friendly and helpful and supportive of others. Some of us call it Iowa nice. Maybe it is the media that encourages us to believe that we are the good guys while the folks who live in urban areas are impolite, cold, and uncaring folks who live isolated lives, and some of us buy it.

I don’t find that to be the case. We all know that such extremes are never true. There is good and bad in all of us, regardless of where we live or what our background is. There are good people everywhere.

After doing some traveling earlier this fall, I’m here to tell you that I came across plenty of friendly, polite, genuine folks even when I was a long way from the Midwest. Easterners, Southerners, and New Englanders were equally nice to me, and that’s not even counting the mix of folks in the airports. Almost always strangers ahead of me going through a door in a public place waited for me to get to the door and then held it open so I could enter before they did. My “thank you” was generally met with a smile and a cheerful “No problem!”

Of course, I’m not real thrilled at being called “ma’am,” as those door-holders often referred to me, but I’ll take it as a sign of respect rather than a veiled comment on my age.

A lady I met for the first time in Boston made me feel very welcome in her home (built in 1840) near Harvard. Folks from all over the country attended the same seminar I did, and I never felt any of them were rude or stand-offish.

Manners and customs are unique to various parts of the country, as I’ve seen it. The real New Englanders I knew when I lived in that part of the country were reserved and definitely not chatty. It wasn’t easy to get acquainted with them. There were no hugs offered on greeting or leaving.

In contrast, my Alabama relatives who are my age and older leave no doubt that they are glad to see me when we get to be together. There are hugs and kisses all around when coming or going. And what I’ve always noticed with them is the respect they have for their elders. If they need you to repeat something, no one says “What?” or even “Pardon?” It’s “Sir?” or “Ma’am?”

Ours is a big country, and there are differences among us depending on where we live. Wouldn’t it be boring if we were all the same?