By Sandy Ebben, Rhinelander, Wisconsin First Weber Group
I moved to Rhinelander in 1976. I was the hesitant spouse and it was a common story. My husband had vacationed in the Northwood’s and the minute he found a job we moved ‘upnorth’. I had always lived in a larger city and felt that I was moving to the end of the world. I was close. We rented a house outside of Sugar Camp on a road that was only plowed to our driveway in the winter. It was March, I had no neighbors and it just kept snowing. I was terrified the first night a raccoon got into the garbage. I thought it was a bear and he would break into our house and eat me.
Over time I grew to love the North. The winters are long and harsh and economy can be challenging. But the quality of life is unique and the people are real.
The animals outnumber people up here. You learn when to remove your bird feeders to avoid the bear invasions. Defensive driving means knowing what to do when a herd of deer run out onto the road.
People move here to slow down, blend in and learn what it really means to live in a community. If you have car trouble you know that no one will pass you by. They all stop and it becomes a community project to get you back on the road. I don’t lock my house or my car and I can leave my purse in the shopping cart as I wander the local Wal-Mart
After awhile you begin to look like everyone else. That guy in a flannel shirt and baseball cap might be a logger or the local judge. Either way the conversation is the same. Weather, hunting, fishing and those “dam tourists”. If you move up north you can be yourself and no one cares what’s in your bank account or what kind of car you drive. They are more interested in how the fish are biting and how you prepare your venison
I have never gotten over the sights and sounds of this area. Swimming in a cold clear lake on a crisp fogging morning is an experience you can not put a price on. .
Our towns are small, but we have everything we need and more. The air is clean, the forests are vast and the lakes are pristine. We truly live in a paradise.
The loons came back this week. Even though it was 29 degrees last night I left my bedroom window open so I could wake up to the sounds of their haunting cries. This is why I live here.