When was the last time you drove down the street and the couple walking their dog actually waved to you? This has not happened to me for some time, however, when I feel the need to want this form of acceptance I make the two and half hour journey down into southern Arizona. I travel to St. David, Arizona so that I can be back at home, definitely, where the heart is.
Aside from enjoying strangers making kind gestures, St. David would not be as welcoming to me if not for the grand farmhouse residing under massive Arizona ash, Chinese elm, and Cottonwood trees. In this structure, built back in the 1950’s, lives my grandmother with numerous cats prowling around outside. The yard surrounding the house is enclosed with a fence where fields filled with vegetables, cows, a horse, and grass account for the outlying area. Beyond the fields, lies two ponds filled with fish hiding in a thicket of mesquite trees and further down lies the San Pedro River. St. David was definitely quite the place to grow up in, just based on the house that I thought I had outgrown. Only now do I realize that I will always hold the town of St. David in my heart, just as my own father and his two brothers still do. They were raised in this same house and graduated from the same high school that I did. St. David is more than just a town on a map, but a site that furnished families, and not just mine.
The population of St. David is just under 2,000 people. This small neighborhood is where friends and bonds are made quickly between the residents. When someone needs a helping hand, like my elderly grandmother, many different community outreaches are made, from the missionary couple who live just down the street or her fellow church congregational members. Not only are residents welcomed to all events, whether it be to school or church activities, outsiders are also always welcome.
With such a small population, this town may seem dull with no excitement whatsoever occurring. Of course, a police beat for St. David usually involves not much beyond strange noises heard in the backyard, yet residents of this quaint town participate in many rewarding activities. For instance, there are numerous swimming and fishing ponds and lakes where many individuals spend hot summer days. Hunting areas surround the town, where gamers are constantly found in search of deer, rabbits, or quail. Also found in this area are train tracks, where many families venture out for picnics to enjoy watching the trains snake their way through the rolling hills. Before these leisure activities take place, a great amount of farm work is completed daily because St. David is predominately a farming community.
Farming is important in this small community, however, not the sole center of the hearts of residents. School is extremely valued in St. David. The St. David School District boasts high standings in standardized tests and each year the graduating class accumulates thousands of dollars in scholarships. Community involvement is one reason for this high success rate, along with the dedicated faculty working in the school district. Every teacher made an effort to show concern with each individual student that made me work harder to achieve the highest grade that I could. I would not be currently attending Arizona State University if it were not for the constant encouragement I received from the faculty.
I am proud to say that I am from St. David, Arizona. The town may not have had a large shopping mall or even a stop light; however, it is filled with residents that generate a true community feeling. St. David is found in each of these individual’s hearts and homes.