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City, like its residents, ages gracefully

A new year arrived Tuesday morning, and I didn’t feel any different than I did Monday.

Nor did I feel any different in November when I celebrated another birthday.

As with many major celebratory events that mark a milestone or the passage of time, I don’t feel any older than I did a decade or so ago. The only signs that I have aged are few gray hairs around my temples, a wrinkle or two and the unexpected arrival of assorted aches and pains.

I know this lack of feeling different after spending another year on Earth isn’t exclusive to me. On Sunday, after we celebrated my father’s 83rd birthday, we asked him if he felt any different than he did when he was 82. Of course, he didn’t. Nor did he feel any different than he did the year before or the year before that.

This condition is not exclusive to people either.

I vividly remember all the concern about what would happen when Y2K arrived. People panicked that going from the 1900s to the 2000s would cause them to lose access to their computer records, that banks would have to close and ATMs would not work or that telephone service would stop at the stroke of midnight.

My husband, who oversaw facility operations and security at a hospital, and others in the technology field spent that New Year’s Eve working, cautiously optimistic that the switch would be smooth and that no one would notice any changes.

And that’s exactly what happened.

In many ways, Boulder City is just like a person as it ages or marks another year of existence. Friday is the 59th anniversary of the city’s incorporation, and it remains remarkably young and unchanged from its early days.

Take a walk through the downtown area and you will see buildings dating back to the 1930s, when the federal government established the city as a place to house those working on the construction of Hoover Dam.

Hundreds of homes that were never intended to last for years remain inhabited by residents who fiercely treasure the uniqueness of the city.

Though the population has increased from the 4,000 or so when the town was incorporated to the approximately 16,000 who live here now, it pales in comparison to the growth in the Las Vegas Valley to the north of us.

The city’s residents work to retain that small-town feel that makes the community so special and makes it seem as if you have stepped back in time when you are out and about.

People still meet their friends at community events or when they are at the grocery store. Parents watch out for one another’s children. Neighbors know one another and care about their welfare.

Just last week I received a telephone call about one such incident that emphasized this point. Lynn Bishop related a tale about the kindness of Boulder City residents and their concern for one another. She told me she had gone out to dinner with a longtime friend she hadn’t seen in a couple of years. Though she had spent the day before getting ready, setting aside gifts and everything she would need that night so that no one would have to wait for her, she forgot one thing: a jacket.

After her friend dropped her off in front of her favorite restaurant, she went inside to get warm. When her friend joined her, Lynn casually mentioned she was cold.

That’s when the city’s old-time hospitality kicked in. The woman behind her kindly offered to let Lynn borrow her jacket. When Lynn thanked her but said the restaurant was warm enough, the woman said that she was concerned about her trip home and that she would retrieve the jacket the following day. The woman said Lynn could call her and she would come get it. Again, she thanked the woman for her hospitality and kindly declined.

Lynn said she didn’t know the woman, nor did she get her name and telephone number to properly thank her for her generous offer.

Such thoughtfulness isn’t evident in much of the modern world but is part of the city’s heritage, where year after year time seems to stand still.

Hali Bernstein Saylor is editor of the Boulder City Review. She can be reached at hsaylor@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9523. Follow @HalisComment on Twitter.

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