Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Delaware Dreams-A New Citizen Reports In

After my husband lost his job of 30 years and with a large house in great need of repair, our decision to move was a given. I was a life long Maryland native while he lived in Maryland, having moved down from Massachusetts, the fifteen years of our marriage. Husband was originally from Indiana; his family relocated to Massachusetts as a result of a job change.

We fancied ourselves to be former hippies now settled and with a conservative ideology more vociferous due to its conversion from liberal. At least that's how we saw it but it was no mind. Husband was tired of living in liberal bastions on the east coast and asked that we compromise from my desire to move to Maryland's eastern shore to a move to Delaware, right up the street.

And so we did and it's been a year. In that year I've managed to fashion my image of Delaware, its quirks and niceties, its annoyances, the very cuteness of being a state with only three electoral votes.

Before June of 2003, my image of Delaware was of a state somewhere between New Jersey and Maryland. Most of any visits I ever made to the little state was to cross over the Delaware Memorial Bridge. I'd driven up Highway 1 from Maryland's Ocean City a few times, the sort of things summer vacationers do during duller moments or cloudy days. A few times I walked the Rehobeth Beach boardwalk, smug that Ocean City's was way cooler.

The first characteristic I'd use to describe Delaware, and this is important to understand my perspective throughout, is that it might be small but it's schizophrenic to a fault. Maryland, well you knew this was a liberal state. Though that state did, ahem, recently elect a Republican Governor. New Jersey to the north, also very liberal. Delaware is very liberal to the north and increasingly conservative in its south.

Husband and I live in Sussex county, about eight miles from Rehobeth Beach and Lewes. Thus we are affected by tourism and all involved with that. Georgetown is five miles to our west and it's staid and simple compared to the oceanfront areaa. Sussex county has been undergoing a major population boom over the past five years, most of it caused by persons just like husband and myself. Middle aged, mostly conservative, economically flush and generally law-abiding.

Wilmington, even Dover, may as well be in California for how they relate to Delaware's south.

Living in "lower and slower" has its benefits, however. I smile every time I take a leisurely drive through Georgetown's Circle. Even a jaunt down Route 1, through Lewes, Rehobeth, Bethany, it's an interesting, sometimes nerve-wracking, journey.

Both husband and I were dismayed to discover that the small state's politicians were notoriously liberal, with a virtual nanny for a Governor and a camera hog for a Senator. That would be Minner and Biden.

Recently, Governor Minner declared Sussex county as being hostile territory. That was the day I became a Delaware citizen, in my mind though already by law. A local conservative radio guy had a mole in the Minner office and somehow weaseled out the information that Minner would not be a guest on his show because of, well that bit about hostile Sussex county. Nothing brings us together like a good war, and Governor Minner has declared war on my county.

Delaware soil is way better than Maryland soil, at least that silt on the lot where I lived. They call it a swamp, sometimes a marsh. But the flowers, given some sun and rain, love the thick mucky stuff. Bird life in Delaware is vastly different from my old home though I hasten to note that in Maryland I lived on a small cove off of the Chesapeake Bay. There are more pine trees in Delaware, thus more pine siskins and gold finches. Last summer husband and I listened for fifteen minutes to a whippoorwill singing his heart in the dead of night. I thought these birds were only in Arizona or some such.

I love having the raucous of the beach resort close enough to take visitors for a happy jaunt. Though one must be cautious of the plethora of visitors only too happy to share a nice house during a weekend getaway.

Husband and I both love it here in schizoid Delaware. I even take a bit of pride when Joe Biden graces my screen with his phony smile and fake hair. Dang, I think, this state with only three electoral votes has this self-important senator getting all this face time.

So there's hope, as husband and I dream. Republicans and Democrats have a long history of strong cooperation in Delaware. It could work.

There were times when I would look at a map and note Delaware's odd outline, a straight line carved out of Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, to the end of a thumb-shaped peninsula jutting into the Atlantic Ocean. I often wondered "Why bother?"

Husband and I are glad they did.

Pat Fish is a Delaware Blogger recently featured in the Delaware Coast Press' article on blogging. Her Blog is titled "The Kaitlyn Mae Book Blog". Don't let the name confuse you. For while she does direct her interesting commentary to her granddaughter who is only one year old, the punditry is aimed to obliquely point out how the decisions we make today affect our children of tomorrow.Fish writes of politics, birds, gardens, cooking and pop culture on her Blog. Below is a link to her Blog. If you'd like to put on a list for notification of updates to the Blog, send an email to patfish1@aol.com

Pat Fish's Kaitlyn Mae Book Blog

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