A week ago my husband and I emptied our home in Sun Prairie into a POD parked out at the curb. As I swept up errant bits of glitter from three years of snowy Christmases out of the corners of our condo, tears fell with a deep sense of gratitude to this hamlet that is more Mayberry than Madison. I am heartbroken to leave, yet grateful for finding this wonderful place that God led us to.
I distinctly remember finding Sun Prairie on Mapquest from my desk in Southern California just after hubby announced that he was taking a job in Fall River. I noted that it had the requisite nearby Airport, a Starbucks, a Costco’s and Cabela's (and it sounded warm!). In retrospect, I leave behind more than a Californian’s first taste of the Midwest, sub-zero temperatures, cheese curds and brats.
I leave a community that absorbed me into its historical character and life force.
The welcoming committee included the Chamber of Commerce receptionist that told us about Buck & Honey’s and became my thrift store buddy, the Wells Fargo loan officer who became family and best friend, the realtor that adopted me and became a son, the PAC gym manager that built my website and brainstormed business marketing ideas while sharing her life, the condo neighbor that I came to love like a daughter, who like the postal employees and the downtown shop owners, offered wisdom and advice for acclimating to life in Wisconsin.
We celebrated New Years Eve with a city employee we met walking their dogs and had coffee with public safety officials from our neighborhood. My husband and I were invited to experience pond hockey tournaments and UW games by sweet neighbors eager to give us Wisconsin experiences.
We had dinner at supper clubs and toured local breweries. We were introduced to Saturday markets and even “jumped” with Badger-mainia. We were astonished by SPHS Cardinal student talent and witnessed extraordinary community support and investment in schools, churches and volunteer organizations. We became Cornfest volunteers and I attended fun Professional Women’s Networking events with amazing SP business leaders.
Even through the community growing pains, robust political debate, the Gas Main Explosion and most recently the COVID-19 challenges, the deep and genuine network of love could be seen as neighbor cared for neighbor and we triumphed over tragedy and conflict, together.
While I have joyful memories, I also have regrets. No more shopping at Fort Woodman’s, Friday nights at the Palace Theater or dinners at Monk's (and I didn’t get around to sampling all 156 Wisconsin brewed beers).
But I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to acknowledge the unique and amazing community that is Sun Prairie. I want to say how very blessed we feel to have been Sun Prairie residents, to have known and experienced life among you. We will take you with us in our hearts, wherever we go. And we will always be #SunPrairieProud #Wisconsifornians. (GoPackGo)