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“I’m new in town.’

One of the questions I’m asked when people discover I bought a home in North Florida is, “Why Quincy?”

My answer: It is a charming town and it has five out of the seven items on my checklist.

In 2017, I started searching for my retirement home — and a second location for my company — in Edenton, North Carolina.

It had legacy, charm, a quiet atmosphere, and the town’s rural landscape dispelled my urban traffic nerves within 10 minutes.

Traffic in the town where I came from was less of a turn-right-here-and-park than it was a live-action game of foosball.

I love small towns for many reasons, but courteous drivers are my favorite.

A quiet town with one or two stoplights, no rush-hour congestion, and drivers who seem to appreciate courtesy — those are my towns.

In big cities, drivers will run you over sooner than they will give you the okay, go-ahead signal.

In Quincy, drivers will often out-sit you.

Rules of the road state that a person on your right has right-of-way for moving forward.

Not here.

I have yet to figure the new rules of the road, but I believe a driver of a pick-up truck prefers to let a compact-car driver go first.

A courteous life — number five on my checklist.

Before Hurricane Irma tore away part of my roof and much of my wooden fence — I moved from a coastal town on the Gulf of Mexico to Quincy — I was 30 hours from buying a home in Edenton.

It may have been a message from God, but after more than seven days of suffering through 90-degree heat without electricity, I recognized the signs.

You’ll want to live above sea level.

Edenton, it turns out, floods.

Escaping hurricanes meant moving to the hills of North Florida.

I looked at Live Oak and Chattahoochee.

A friend called and said, “Quincy. Your kind of landscape. And a growing business climate that you’ll love.”

I said, “I’ll be new in town.”

He said, “You’ll be new in any town for the rest of your life because you aren’t a generational resident. Get over it. Go to Quincy.”

A real estate agent found me a house with original 1952 hardwood floors on a street on which three cars — okay, maybe seven — pass my home.

Across from a wooded area’s forest-green view, it’s close enough to the courthouse square to make coffee runs when I need a break from working.

A decades-long columnist and book editor, peaceful views allow me to concentrate.

But, as anyone who writes for a living knows, human contact is important. Especially when you are new in town.

In the three months I’ve been renovating the house, my contacts included plumbers, painting contractors, flooring contractors, and the owners of an appliance store in Quincy.

I discovered that the owners, like me, enjoy books.

After I selected a stove (what’s with all the blue LEDs?), we talked about one of our favorite books, John Irving’s A Prayer for Owen Meany.

Only in Quincy.

This town is where I planned for — dreamed of — a book club.

Earlier that month, I had asked the owner of Damfino’s in Quincy’s downtown if she would host the club.

I said, “I’m new in town.”

She said, “We’re very glad you are here.”

I thought, now that you mention it, so am I.

Kate Sullivan — executive editor of WordSmitten Media, Inc. — moved here in 2017 where she started her book club.

The club now meets on the third Tuesday of each month from 5 to 6 p.m. at Damfino’s. Wine and beverages are available.

The new WordSmitten Book and Wine Club will next meet from 5 to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, February 20 at Damfino’s Café and Market (18 North Adams Street) in Quincy.

For more information about the book club, search, and search for “WordSmitten.”

By Kate Sullivan
Professional Writer/Editor