A Doug's Life: People Who Need People...

For five months now, I've been writing about the new things I've experienced and dreamed about since my move to Menifee. There's been a lot of talk about Menifee's back roads, horse stables, lakes, even a hot air balloon ride.

None of that is why I came out here. Those things are simply icing on the cake.

I wouldn't be here were it not for family. That's the reason I first heard of this place, the reason I began visiting this place, and ultimately the reason I moved to this place.

I can talk (and write) all I want about Menifee's blue skies, starry nights and outdoor life. But when it comes right down to it, it's all about who you're with.

It's about the people -- especially those about whom we care the most.

I was reminded of this last weekend, when my 2-year-old grandson Cameron was hospitalized with pneumonia. My daughter Megan, her husband Jeff and their two children, Cameron and Kaylee, were among the primary reasons we moved here. They too live in Menifee, as do two of our other children and one grandchild. We haven't brought the whole clan yet, but we're working on it.

And when we all get together, it doesn't really matter where it is. We feel the love. That's why it was so difficult to watch that little boy squirm in a hospital bed, hooked up to an IV and refusing to eat or drink.

Cameron is much better this week. He had two helpings of mom's lasagna the other day, is running all around the house, and is once again bugging Pop for the use of my iPhone (who knew they had all these apps?).

But for a scary couple of days, it was as if our cute little Cameron was missing. Suddenly, I didn't give a darn about my surroundings and leisure time activities. They could've stuck me in a New York high rise or a cave in Arkansas and I wouldn't have cared, just as long as that little kid was smiling.

I think that's as it should be. I hope that's the way it is, or someday will be, for people everywhere, including of course the good people of Menifee. As the community grows and the new continues to mingle with the old, we should forget about our surroundings, put aside any distractions, and simply get to know and appreciate each other.

It has been my privilege the last few months to get to know some great community leaders here. You all should be proud of the individuals who donate their time in service to others. And you know what? The more service they do, the happier they seem. I think there's a lesson to be learned there.

I appreciate the warm welcome my family and I have received since moving here. I am excited about the community organizations I am becoming involved with, and I cherish the friendships I am making. But I don't want to limit my circle of new friends to public officials and community activists. I want to get to know the guy on the street corner, the person across the aisle in the supermarket, the lady walking her dog next to the dry creek bed.

You don't have to be my toddler grandson, sick in a hospital bed, for me to care about you. You don't have to be president of the Chamber of Commerce, superintendent of schools, or even a horse rancher (wow, can't believe I just said that).

You just have to be willing to reach out, smile and talk to one another. Show that you care. That kind of caring is what's impressed me most about Menifee -- not the "great adventure." I've seen it all around me, from my closest friends and family here to the average Joe I pass on the sidewalk.

People are what will make this community rise or fall in the years to come. That can be said for pretty much anywhere else, I suppose. We can moan about gas prices, presidential candidates or the high unemployment rate. Or we can forget about our troubles and look for a way to help someone else.

So if you see me out and about in these parts -- study my cowboy profile shot, which my wife hates -- smile and say hello. I really will appreciate it. After all, horses don't talk.


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