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Moving to a smaller city has helped us rediscover the goodness of Americans.

living in gratitude©

It’s sometimes difficult to see that quality in urban centers, where the media is awash in images of violence, and where public discourse — especially in campaign season — seems strained by toxic language.

Here in Rogue River Valley, Oregon, neighbors still treat each other with generosity and kindness.

We’re paying attention to the smallest details, noticing the difference in civility and, yes, compassion, between larger cities and smaller ones like our new home. (Medford population:  75,000; Greater Medford, 207,000)

In a smaller place, Americans still take time to show interest in each other, engage in conversation with strangers, and exchange views politely. They look out for each other.

They hold doors open for strangers. They help elders.

We were away on assignment for a week, and a neighbor, surprised by our return, informed us that he was so worried by our absence, he intended to alert property management the next day that we had disappeared. He was serious.

We were stunned — we’ve lived for years in several major American cities, and seldom knew our neighbors. We laughed and thanked our new neighbor for his concern.

Then he laughed too, blurting, “That’s OK. There was no smell coming from your apartment, so I figured you weren’t dead in there.”

I’m thankful for smaller places and for the goodness of Americans who live there.