One of this columnist’s favorite movies of all time is “Field of Dreams.” And one of my favorite lines from the movie: “Is this heaven? No, it’s Iowa.”
Although it sounds sappy and contrived, I asked myself the same question when first visiting our eventual home town: Is this heaven? No, it’s Boulder City.
My wife, Kathy, and I had planned for nearly five years to eventually move to, and retire in, Las Vegas. While we were winding down our careers in the Los Angeles area of California, Kathy had diligently been shopping for houses online. Her best girlfriend lives in Vegas so she combined a visit to her home armed with three or four houses to check out. None quite fit the bill.
Fast-forward to 2019 and her Realtor suggested a visit to both Henderson and Boulder City. Boulder whaaat? Kathy set up three different homes in Boulder City to check out and had me come along for the ride. Guys, you’ll know exactly what I mean. When your better half says we’re going somewhere, it’s best to reply with a preapproved answer: “Yes, dear.”
We played follow-the-leader with our Realtor, heading to the first house on our list. I think she purposely took us to a place toward the bottom of the likability scale as it was an immediate, “Ah, no.” The second place, not much of an improvement. But, as if a nine-planet alignment had just taken place, number three was the house we bought and eventually turned into our home. Walking in the front door had that uncanny vibe — the feeling that we need look no further. It was perfect.
While looking at the backyard, I had my first of many “life at the movies” moments. It was eerily quiet. Other than a smattering of birds in nearby trees, we heard absolutely nothing. No cars, no choppers overhead. No neighbors screaming at each other while cranking death metal rock ‘n’ roll music. No sirens, no gunshots. Keep in mind, we were coming from LA where those same cacophonic sounds became ambient noise.
I thought to myself, OK, it’s really, really quiet. That’s a good thing. I would find out that Boulder City is so serene, our first night sleeping in our new home proved too calm for this soon to be ex-city slicker. I fluffed, then firmly planted my head into my pillow only to several moments later hear my own pulse in my ears. What the …? So I could sleep, I turned on the air-conditioning system’s fan. With its mechanical drone, like an expensive white-noise generator, I slept like a baby.
We then visited a local store. The employee that waited on us seemed almost over-the-top nice. Then at a Boulder City restaurant, the host was gregarious and welcoming, the waiter sweet and helpful. Even the busboy was outgoing, funny and engaging. What’s with this place? Is there something in the air, the water? Are Kool-Aid doses distributed to every inhabitant with mandatory dosage instructions?
We would soon realize Boulder City is like none other we’ve ever visited, much less called home. It is a uniquely blessed place where simple, old-fashioned values carry the day. The golden rule is widely practiced where its inhabitants treat others as they, themselves, wish to be treated.
In the two years we’ve called Boulder City our home, we’ve encountered a couple of surly exceptions — but they are truly outliers. Boulder City is an amazing diamond in the rough — a jewel of a small town reminiscent of a Norman Rockwell painting visualizing America of the ’50s and ’60s. We feel wonderfully blessed this is our home.
Although the only true constant in life is change, we hope and pray God’s gift to Nevadans remains the same come what may.
The opinions expressed above belong solely to the author and do not represent the views of the Boulder City Review. They have been edited solely for grammar, spelling and style, and have not been checked for accuracy of the viewpoints.
Ron Russ is a Los Angeles transplant, living in and loving Boulder City since 2020. His career in commercial broadcasting spanned more than four decades, including a brief stint as the announcer for Fox’s short-lived “The Chevy Chase Show.” In another lifetime Ron performed stand-up comedy in Los Angeles. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.