Sunday, March 30, 2014

What's Good About St. Johns?

Recently I was asked to write an article for "It's a Wonderful Small-Town Life." My mind went back 15-20 years ago, when I wrote my one and only letter to the editor in our local newspaper. After searching for what seemed like an eternity, I finally found a copy and here it is.

What's Good About St. Johns?
We continue to see our population dwindle. You hear people say, "We are going to sell out while we still can." Please don't! We need you here. Stop and think about why you moved here, and why you like living in St. Johns. The people are what make any town, and we have some of the very best right here. It is time to work together and make this a better place to live.
All my life I have heard stories of the people that made St. Johns ... People like Solomon Barth, E.I. Whiting, Ernie Wilbur and many more. Who is stepping up to take their places? We need to be less self-serving and learn that we need to give back - not just take. It is time to change our attitudes and be more positive and friendly.
As I stop and think of the people who have recently purchased or opened new businesses in town, I realize there are many people trying to make St. Johns a better place. People like Ruby Bride, Orville and Connie Harris, Joe Salazar, Hanzel Odom, Stacey Thornhill with her neat little shop on main street, and many others. We need to support these people and let them know we appreciate their efforts to make St. Johns a better place.
So what is good about St. Johns?
-Loving people that support each other in times of need.
-Strong church congregations of many faiths, trying to be better people.
-Families that still teach their children to work and to be responsible.
-Parents that still help with homework and support their children in their activities.
-Volunteers that still make this a unique place to live.
-Fiesta de San Juan Activities.
-Fourth of July pancake breakfasts, patriotic programs, free barbecues, foot races, and fireworks.
-Horse trial activities.
-24th of July activities.
-Apache County Fair and Horse Races.
-Halloween parades and carnivals.
-Living Christmas Tree programs.
-Great Christmas decorations.
-Rotary Basketball Tournaments.
-Easter Egg Hunts.
-Little League Coaches and Referees.
-People willing to serve on school boards and city councils.
-Lots of sunshine and clean air.
-Athletic and scholastic teams that continue to excel despite reduced numbers.
-People that still wave to each other on the street.
-Family Traditions that are carried on year after year.
-Boys turning into men in hay fields and branding corrals.
-Cheerleaders and fans standing on Grover's Hill to wish ball teams good luck.
-People who still stop to give you a ride when you're out walking for exercise.
-4-H Projects.
-Flags proudly displayed on homes and businesses on national holidays.
-Outdoor Dances.
-The smell of fresh cut alfalfa.
-Baccalaureate programs where all local church leaders give good counsel and advice to our senior class.
-Warm summer nights with friends, families, and neighbors visiting on front porches.
-Bingo on Thursday nights.
-Ripe corn and tomatoes given away on many doorsteps in August and September.
-Christmas carolers.
-Community and church service projects.
-Tractors on Main Street.
-People stopping and calling to check on a heifer who is calving to see if help is needed.
Can St. Johns continue to be called "The Town of Friendly Neighbors"? It can if we want it to be.
Larry Heap
St. Johns

Some of the names mentioned above have moved on, a few of the activities have ceased, but by and large our little St. Johns community continues to be the place that so many people love and long to be a part of.
To me our community offers a sense of peace and security, two attributes that seem to be lacking in much of the world today. I still believe that many people in this community possess great common sense and know how to get things done.
As we continue to stay true to our time-honored traditions, work together and pray together, we will continue to be "The Town of Friendly Neighbors" for many years to come.
By Larry Heap


  1. I love this! I know that my kids and I would add two things to your list of great things about St. Johns… The house that gives out homemade root beer at Halloween and the mule/wagon rides around the neighborhood! Thanks for making St. Johns a wonderful place to live!

  2. Thank you Larry for that wonderful list of things and people that make Saint Johns the special place it is.

  3. I agree with the rootbeer addition. Thank you Larry for the reminder of our "friendly" parts! I also appreciate your inference that it is our actions that produce this result!