It was a long time ago when my husband Bill and I moved to Hays. And it is true that we came for only one year. I needed only one quarter to be vested in KPERS retirement plan or I would lose nine years of investment by my previous employer. We then planned on moving to Loveland, Colo., where our daughter and family lived.

Talk about best made plans. Now, as we prepare to move after 31 years in Hays, we look back on those years and truly know how wonderful they were. Some years back, we were returning to Hays from a vacation in Colorado where I had grown up and lived for 22 years. I looked back at those majestic peaks — the Rockies — and recalled the many years I had viewed them and loved them without respite.

Ah, well. It was not uncommon to hear people say how barren and ugly Kansas is as they came from Colorado. We have all heard that comment, I am sure. But, it is not true. We had then lived for 30 years in Colby, raised our family, worked, played and loved that area. Ah, fond reminisces of our wonderful Kansas life.

As we continued our drive home to Hays, the golden wheat fields swayed in unison as if to welcome us home, the azure blue of the sky with its puffy white clouds was more beautiful than anyone could ever imagine. Yes, the beauty of Kansas was and is real.

These past 31 years in Hays were spent in the midst of wonderful church community members, neighbors, children growing from babes to adults with their own beautiful families. The caring for all was evident in so many times and circumstances. We shared wonderful experiences, but also the sad times that greet us all as we live our lives.

And so as we welcome hesitantly our new adventure, we leave with some sad thoughts, but also knowing it is our attitude that gives us courage for change. New adventures widen our horizons and give us the opportunity to meet new friends and neighbors and be closer to our daughter and family. We will miss Hays and all it has meant to us, but are so thankful for all we have experienced, the doors that have opened to new experiences and friends, and the beauty of our Kansas land.

I do not believe in saying goodbye but can only say with all my heart, “ ’til we meet again, dear friends and neighbors and fellow Kansans.” We will always treasure our Kansas memories, for they have helped make us whom we are. And so — once again — ” ‘til we meet again may God hold you in His loving hands and may our lives reflect His love for us in each other.” For we are truly blessed.

I have always loved the saying, “No door closes without another door opening,” unless we spend so much time looking at the closed door that we do not see those doors that are opening for us.

God bless us all; God bless our wonderful country America, and may we all reflect what America truly means to us — for it is the best and greatest country in the world. God bless our servicemen and women and their families as they serve to keep us safe. Yes, ‘til we meet again.

Ruth Moriarity is a member of the Generations Advisory Group.