What is your Eden for living in Eden Prairie!

In 1979 Helen Anderson Holden wrote in her book, “The First Hundred Years.” In it, she describes how our city was named.
The book tells of a young Elizabeth Fry Ellet, a well-known author of that time, visiting this area in 1873. She was quite taken with the prairie and its beauty, and she was especially impressed with the prairie flowers. She referred to this land as a “Garden of Eden” and thought that it should be named Eden Prairie. For Ms. Ellet, the prairie was what made this area special for her. It was her Eden, her Eden in Eden Prairie.
Reading about her visit and the things that she appreciated the most caused me to wonder what I loved most about living here. What was my Eden?
At first glance, I thought answering this question would be easy. After all, Eden Prairie has many incredible qualities. Qualities like the highest-ranking schools, countless city amenities, beautiful green spaces, affordable housing and so much more. We as residents are spoiled by the wonderful resources available to us at our fingertips. As attractive as all of these resources are, however, none of them made the city my Eden. The answer to my question was elusive, so I decided to put this article on the back burner for a time with hopes that the answer would come to me.
The next day, while I was running errands, I stopped at our local grocery store to pick up a few things. As I walked through the door, the manager said hello as he usually does, and we chatted for a few minutes. My next stop was to the neighborhood pharmacy. Upon my arrival, the customer service attendant greeted me and asked if I needed help with anything. I recognized him from previous visits so we took a few minutes to talk. After my stop at the pharmacy I headed to my son’s school to drop off a wayward library book. As I walked through the hallways, I saw staff members I knew. We happily exchanged a few catch-up conversations before I went on my way. Two more stops were made that day as I took care of my remaining chores, and I was able to enjoy the occasional small talk here and there along the way.
With my errands completed I made a mental list of phone calls I needed to make when I returned home. I had a question about a city ordinance and needed to reach out to a City Council member. I also had a question for the pharmacist concerning a prescription and needed to place a call to his office. I wasn’t overly concerned about making these calls though especially because the staff at both places have always been so kind and helpful.
I was feeling quite appreciative at that moment, appreciative of the resources and relationships that I have and thought warmly of the incredibly kind neighbors and friends I’ve come to know and I was grateful. Grateful for the good people in my life, and they live and work right here in this city. It was then that I realized what I loved most about Eden Prairie.
The thing I loved most about Eden Prairie is its residents. I am incredibly grateful for all the wonderful things available in this city, but mostly I am grateful for its people. So thank you — thank you to all of the amazing people in Eden Prairie because you my friends. You are my Eden.