Saturday, December 15, 2012

It's Home

Let me tell you a little bit about New England.

No, it is not a state that you have not heard of.

Yes, it does include Connecticut even though there are areas - like down around New Haven - that many New Englanders consider to be an extension of New York. This is particularly true of baseball and football fans, and occasionally those who follow basketball and hockey.  And no, New York is not a part of New England.

New England isn't just a place to live. It's a way of life. It's a landscape. It's large, diverse cities and small, quaint towns with a white church that sit quietly at the head of a "common". It's where old timers gather on the porch of the country store during the summer or at the local breakfast dive during the winter and over a cup of coffee talk about all the goings on and gossip. People say we talk fast, are always in a hurry, and keep to ourselves - but once we warm to you what you know you have got is genuine and the real deal.

In many ways, a visit to New England is like being able to visit France, Spain, Italy, Germany, and Austria all in one day. Accents are different. Cultures are different. It might take you a little while to realize that "Down East" Maine is actually more north.  The people in the city of Burlington located in the Green Mountain State sometimes joke that the great thing about their locations is that it's so close to the rest of Vermont. Lobstahs, as they should appropriately be called, are purple crustaceans and chowdah should never, ever be red. That Manhattan stuff? It's soup.

New Englanders can add the word "wicked" to almost anything. Wicked cool. Wicked awesome. Wicked bad. In some parts of New England they seem to forget what the letter "r" sounds like but in others the letter "r" gets randomly added to words. They understand there's truth to the phrase, "You can't get there from here," and often measure distance not in miles but in the number of hours it takes to get from Point A to Point B. They sometimes experience the season of spring, maybe a few weeks of summer, a beautiful fall, a cold winter and then the season of mud. Driving in the winter is great because snow will fill potholes but sometimes you have to contend with frost heaves. Even then, one of the worst seasons anyone could ever experience is Black Fly.

New Englanders are resourceful and resilient and have been since the early days of our country.Communities banded together then, and they will come together again because inevitably everyone knows someone who knows someone.

I still haven't figured out why I want to tell you about New England. Maybe it's because despite living in the mid-west for the last 10 years New England is still home. But maybe it's because I know a handful of someones directly affected by Newtown. And yes, I may be in the land of soybeans and corn but they are all still close to my heart and my heart aches for "my" New England.

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