We understand that we will never be natives of our little town, but we may have finally gone from "not from here" to being locals.
Some might think we would have achieved that status because we've owned the same house for 25 years, delivered three babies in the hometown hospital and soon will have graduated three Chi-Hi Cardinals.
But the true signs came slowly, and very subtly added to our localness. Let's see...
There was the first successful making of the Chippewa hot beef.
Then we learned which day of the week fresh cheese curds come to the mom and pop grocery and that they remain squeaky only if left out of the frig.
Next came the ability to call the plumber, mechanic, paint store, and library without having to look up the numbers or needing to identify ourselves by more than a first name.
We quickly learned that anyone we are talking to could be related to the person we are talking about.
After a relatively short while we could not walk the six blocks to downtown without getting a honk or wave from at least one, and usually many, passing motorists or pedestrians.
If we forget we have gone to the store on foot and unthinkingly buy the five pound bag of potatoes or watermelon on weekly special we can always find someone in the store who will offer to take our heavy load and drop it off on the front porch.
We finally know which way we should be heading if someone tells us to go up Porkchop Hill, across the Silver Bridge, out to Shafer's Corner, past Pooh's on the Pond, or across from Ray's Beach.
And now it seems, the deal has been sealed. Yup, NDL is a bowling league sub.
We have arrived (in striped rental shoes and with a 93 handicap).