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Easy adjustment to country life

POSTED: February 6, 2009 3:03 p.m.
My name is Raphael Semmes, and I’m glad to be a part of our community. By way of introduction, I grew up in Savannah, graduated from “the original” Savannah High School, went off to college at the Universities of Virginia (Charlottesville) and Georgia (Athens), came home after graduate school and the death of my father, and unexpectedly wound up taking his place as treasurer and credit manager for the family’s wholesale hardware business.
I lived in a small apartment in downtown Savannah for 10 years, just around the corner from the old WTOC building and Forsyth Park. It was a wonderful place to be in the late 1970s: close to parks of all kinds, near my favorite Chinese restaurant (Canton), and just a short walk from the Savannah riverfront. Those were good times! I spent many a Saturday afternoon walking all over downtown Savannah, enjoying the architecture, the ambience, and occasional weekend activities on River Street (First Saturday festivals and such).
All that changed when I moved to Liberty County in January of 1986. I had been looking for a place to live that was larger than the tiny apartment I had on Gaston Street, and the fellow who had been my banker for a number of years told me about a fellow he knew who had a place on a lake, about 10 miles south of Richmond Hill. I drove down one weekend to look at it, and fell in love with it.
It was perfect! A modest home, in a quiet, out-of-the-way subdivision, near the end of the road, with a large, fenced yard (which later proved useful when the young woman who would later become my wife came with a dog, and then another dog we inherited from her folks when they moved to Florida, plus other assorted animals over the intervening years) and friendly neighbors. The home is also in the flight path of all sorts of migratory wild birds.
I have met a lot of very friendly people in Liberty County, and am very glad to have become part of the wider community here. Even though I work in downtown Savannah, and put a lot of miles on my car each year going back and forth to work, the advantages of “country living” far outweigh the extra travel.
For one thing, real estate costs when I first moved down here were far less than what they were in Savannah. This made it affordable for me to buy that modest house on the half-acre lot, which gives us plenty of room for our pets to run around. For another, the property taxes were much less than they would’ve been in Savannah. And the wildlife I have seen here is incredible. For a city boy who usually only saw pigeons and bluejays, it’s been amazing to see –– in my own backyard or across my lot –– blue herons, loons, red-wing blackbirds and Canadian geese, among others, not to mention possums and raccoons, turtles and an occasional alligator in the lake behind my house. Just an amazing panoply of wildlife! And I love the peace and quiet.
I’m glad to be here. And I’m thankful every day, both for my banker friend mentioning this place to me when he knew I was looking, and for the fellow I bought it from, for being willing to take a chance on a fellow he didn’t know. It’s made such a huge difference in my life.
 

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