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Port Makes Room for Mara and Me

Local Editor Lyssa Beyer gets to know another side of Port — the four-legged kind.

I'm the traveling kind, vacationing when I get the chance — road trips preferred.  It's not often I like to stay in one place, and for a while I was packing the boxes and moving two to three times a year.

My parents didn't like that much, dad especially, because I tend to choose upstairs apartments. Nonetheless, the lifestyle gave me a lot of insight to — well, other lifestyles.

Just to catch you up, here's a list of my places of residence:

  • Appleton (where I was born)
  • Kimberly (where I spent my greater high school years)
  • Eau Claire (where I went to college)
  • Milwaukee (lived near Brady Street while an intern for JSonline.com)
  • Indialantic, FL (near Melbourne, where my boyfriend and I moved after my intership as I didn't have a "real" job and have a slight obsession with sand and heat)
  • Minneapolis, MN (my try as a big city girl but with no success of landing a "real" job)
  • Green Bay (where I worked as a copy editor for the Green Bay Press-Gazette)
  • Port Washington (the here and now)

I take a lot of lessons from these places. One, that I hate snow — that living in Florida would be perfect if only the family would all relocate with me. Two, that I hope to be a snowbird by age 30. Three, that Green Bay isn't dirty — it has character, a different kind of "Green Bay class," as my sister and I called it. Four, that Eau Claire is beautiful but once outside city limits, there is nothing. And also — a 3-and-a-half hour drive home once a month is only tolerable for about 4 years of college.

But one of the biggest things I take with me from all of these experiences is the different way people act in different settings. While living in Minneapolis (technically I was in a small suburb called St. Anthony, but my mailing address included the big city), I didn't really meet anyone new. In a big city, you would think I would have left with an address book full of friends from all corners.

Nope.

The fact of the matter is, people all already know somebody in big cities, groups of friends already established. It was hardly possible to breach the circles of "cliques" at local watering holes.

In Indialantic, a small city on a barrier island of Florida, people wanted to socialize all the time. I left with one solid friend whom I still connect with when time permits and vacations can handle it.

It's also different here in Port. I've made several friends I'd already consider relatively close. I know people in all corners, and see familiar faces even though I don't know their names.

I like that.

My boyfriend and I added a new member to our family this weekend. Her name is Mara, she has four legs and short brown-red hair, brown-red nails and eyes soon to be changing to? Brown-red. She comes when you call (sometimes), sits when you ask (while looking for her awarding food) and nibbles on your fingers now and then.

She's a 9-week-old Viszla puppy. She's already been out on several walks around the block — and she's already met a lot of people.

"It won't take long to socialize her around here," one passerby told me, on Mara's very first walk.

A couple days later, there was the the mail lady, who graciously and patiently fed Mara the largest treat she has eaten to this day, chunk-by-chunk.

There were the kids who thought she was just so cute (Mara loves kids), and the group of people Mara was so excited to see the second time around as we took laps around the block in opposite directions.

I look forward to all the great people Mara and I will continue to meet in Port.  After all, Mara and I have one clear thing in common: we don't like to sit still very long. So, if you see us out in Port don't hesitate to stop and say "hi" — I know Mara is going to want to.

Lyssa Beyer June 10, 2011 at 04:17 PM
Very small world, because the friend I met in Indialantic moved to Melbourne beach just down A1A like you said — so we stayed at his house on a recent vacation down there! I miss A1A drives ...
Rik Kluessendorf June 11, 2011 at 01:56 PM
Just to warn you, Lyssa, more people know my dogs than know me. I haven't figured that one out yet, how complete strangers that I swear I have never before laid eyes on will walk up to me and one of my dogs and say, "oh, how is Snuffy doing?" At first, I thought these were people my wife knew or ran into, but after talking to her about it, she doesn't know these people either and it spooks her out.
Luann Retzer June 11, 2011 at 11:05 PM
Lyssa, Mara is beautiful! Don't let her drink the lake water or any other pond water etc, a friend of ours lost his adult dog to an E-coli infection it contracted after it swam and drank Lake Michigan water on the North beach on a hot day.
Lyssa Beyer June 14, 2011 at 08:33 PM
Hah, Rik — this is great ... and true. Mara did, in fact, meet two puppies on our walk today — Lucy and Dotty, but I don't know their "humans" names! I should take your words into account and ask them next time I see them out! We only walk around the block so far, so they are neighbors :)
Lyssa Beyer June 14, 2011 at 08:34 PM
Thank you, Luann! I had been wondering whether the e-coli issues in the lake would be something I should watch out for, so I will definitely stay away when warnings are posted. We wouldn't want to lose little Mara — and my condolences to your friend.

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