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The ‘center’ of many good things

By Staff | Jun 26, 2009

People often ask me how I like Rugby. My reply is always the same, “I love it!” When we decided to move here, I didn’t know much about the town except that people seemed to love it. Having lived in and traveled to rural areas and big cities around the world, I assumed Rugby was an ordinary small town. I could not have been more wrong.

My first real exposure to Rugby occurred at a Backstage Gifts open house. Wandering through the store, I kept thinking I heard live cello. Knowing that was impossible in a town this size, I assumed the store had a good sound system. And then I turned around and saw Deb Jenkins playing her cello in a swirl of warm light and glittering treasures. I was stunned, and I knew then that this was no ordinary small town.

Deb and her cello were only the beginning of a still-flowing stream of surprises. In what other small town can we go to the symphony one weekend and dirt track races the next? What a marvelous, eclectic place this is with Music in the Park, athletics, the Rugby Shooting Club, the Heart of America Concert Series, and Village Arts Productions. Rugby is a delightful mlange of culture. We have artists, photographers, musicians, writers, athletes, and race car drivers!

How many towns this size have a 24-hour gym and a jogging path? And it’s not just any jogging path; it is beautiful! Warbling meadowlarks and killdeer lift my soul as I run among lush trees, cattails, and ever-changing fields. That businesses, groups, and individuals came together to create this lovely, uncongested refuge for the health and enjoyment of Rugby’s citizens astounds me.

Not far from our path is the Prairie Village Museum, a cool retreat on a summer’s day and an escape into the past. Our library, too, has much to offer; its southwest corner features a rich research section for lovers of North Dakota history. None of this would be possible without the generous support of our local businesses, individuals, and organizations like the Lions and the Eagles.

Among our businesses are wonderful restaurants, friendly banks and gas stations peppered with surprising flashes of the city. What a shock it was to find freshly roasted coffee beans delivered right to the front door by Ground in Faith Coffee. Tam Goodman’s exquisite art and Dan Smith’s photography grace our downtown, and in Samsara Cues, we have one of the finest pool cue manufacturers in the world! Because our town is small and our teachers are involved in the community, they know the children and are personally invested in their students. Beginning at the toddler age, we have athletics and dance that continue through high school, where our coaches shape Rugby’s athletes into state champions.

Rugby’s churches support one another. Often churches define their theology by how other theology is wrong. In Rugby, however, churches don’t pick at differences. During Lent, churches coalesce for services; Little Flower invites us all to experience the Stations of the Cross; and we all unite for National Day of Prayer. Churches participate in one another’s fundraisers and send their children to each other’s camps. How undivided we are and how much more useful therefore. Would that Christians, Jews, Muslims, and Hindus everywhere could work together for the greater good as Rugby’s churches do.

Living in this sophisticated hamlet, I find a more abundant life than I have experienced anywhere else. As I walk our tree-lined streets, the sometimes rich, sometimes delicate, sometimes heady scents of the agriculture that keeps Rugby going waft into town and intoxicate me. The grain elevator, our skyscraper, takes me back to my youth in Iowa, South Dakota, and Montana. It is as though God plucked the best assets of the city and planted them in this haven of flax and safflower. We have here everything, everything… I love this place.

Skjelver is a Rugby author.

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