Alas, I'm on the Eastern Shore of Virginia for what I'm willing to call a "vacation." I'm spending my all time favorite holiday (the 4th of July) at home with my parents. I was starting to get a little homesick for the great ESVA while watching "Friday Night Lights." This show, my new favorite show, portrays a high school football team which is the epicenter of a small town called Dillon in Texas. Now, the Eastern Shore doesn't revolve around a football team, but the small town factor of the show reminds me of well, home.
I can't go anywhere without running into someone I know. Whether its my friend who beat me out for class president my freshman year of high school, or my guidance counselor secretary or even my supervisor from my high school job, the fact of the matter is, you can't go anywhere on the Eastern Shore without bumping into someone you know. Try going to the local Walmart and you'll find people you worked with, lived by, went to school with, dated...etc. And I love every minute of it.
This evening I found myself at the Wachapregue Carnival, a small town fireman's carnival where anyone who is anyone comes out for fried food, kareoke, and a few carnival rides. I used to frequent the carnival when it was held in my old town, Onancock. I remember getting all dressed up just to walk around the carnival grounds and show off. Well now, years later, I find myself at this other small town carnival. Now I've been there many times before, but after living in my concrete jungle and working pretty close to the ghetto, its almost like a reverse yet refreshing culture shock to be amongst the small town folk.
I'm standing there, watching a guy sing a country song while wearing a cowboy hat and everyone and their mother is sitting at picnic tables, happily listening. Then I walk by the bingo tables (where I spent some quality time myself). At one point, my friend and I left the carnival for a bit and ended up at a little outdoor gathering/party where we scored some free Miller Light (because everyone is nice on the Shore) and some really good live music. I found myself sitting on a picnic table, with the seaside breeze blowing my hair, sipping on a Miller Light, listening to "Sweet Home Alabama" while overlooking the beautiful waterfront of this small shore town. It was an amazing feeling. I feel sort of displaced from it all. Its hard to realize that I spent my formative years on this little strip of land surrounded by water.
I returned to the carnival and just embraced the whole enviornment. When I come home to the Shore, I tend to look at the beautiful waterfronts and the acres and acres of farmland and listen to the stillness of life, thinking "why in the world did I give this up?" Yet this time I feel differently. While watching the locals mingle at the carnival, part of me was like "people, there is so much more out there besides the Eastern Shore." I know most of them travel to other places, but to be born, live and die on the Eastern Shore has me mystified. I know it is an amazing place to live but I think about all the fun an opportunities I have in Philadelphia and feel sad that everyone here is missing out.
The Eastern Shore is quiet, peaceful and nobody asks me if I can spare some change. It is clean, open, and incredibly friendly. Yet Philadelphia is loud, busy, cultured, entertaining, and in its own way, beautiful too. So for the first time since venturing back home and leaving my city life for a bit, I feel content with my past and my future. The Eastern Shore of Virginia will always be home to me. It will always be a place to come back to and just soak up the peaceful life it holds. However, Philadelphia is my home too. I'm proud to live there and love the city very much.
While both places are vastly different, I still call both of them my home. :)
Until next time....