To the Journal editor:
Several weeks ago, a young man assisted me to my car from a local restaurant and I said to him, "It's because of people like you that I live in Marquette," to which he replied, "I'm visiting from Massachusetts."
Besides turning red in the face, I realized that there are wonderful, marvelous people everywhere. But I insist that an impressive number of wonderful people are found in the Upper Peninsula.
I was raised in the borough of the Bronx, New York City, and have lived-in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Upstate New York, Tennessee and, of course, Michigan. Yes, there are nice people in all those places but I have never encountered such care, especially from strangers, as I have here.
On the afternoon of Dec. 2, my wife, Pat, and I attended the Choral Society Christmas concert at St Peter Cathedral. We were late and drove 'round and 'round looking for a parking place.
We brought the car to a stop and tried to see if there was a spot anywhere. Then a young woman approached our vehicle and said, cheerily, "I see you have a handicapped license plate, why don't you park where I put my car and I will find someplace else." She would not take, "I do not want to inconvenience you" for an answer, so we gratefully took her spot, near the entrance to the building - I don't know where she parked, but I am sure it was a long walk to the cathedral door.
The church was packed with lovers of Christmas carols. I was pushing a walker (due to my weak back) when all of a sudden a woman, sitting in a wheelchair against the wall and behind the pews, insisted, "Sir, please sit in my wheelchair; I'll sit on the floor" - which she did!
Pat and I came here in 1991 for just a year so that I could serve the First Presbyterian Church as an interim until a called minister could be found. Then I could retire. Well, as you can see we are still here! Many of our friends keep asking me, "Why have you settled in that snowy, cold end-of-the-world-place in the U.P? My answer, "Cold climate; warm people!"
Thank you Marquette! Why would I ever leave here to return home? My home is here because you, the people, are so dear!
Rev. David T. Mair