Ex­pe­ri­enc­ing some­thing dif­fer­ent

Maryland Independent - - Sports - Jamie Drake jamiedrake­out­doors@out­look.com

I was born in La Plata, raised in Charles County, went to col­lege in An­napo­lis, and other than a cou­ple years else­where, have lived in Mary­land most of my life. Long-time read­ers of this col­umn may note that I cher­ish our part of the state and re­vere Southern Mary­land’s tra­di­tions and rich his­tory.

Un­equiv­o­cally, I am a Mary­lan­der. When my kids are grown, I would be quite pleased if they kept up the life­style and held onto the val­ues near and dear to my heart. They can cast a line and clean a fish, net and pick a crab, grow veg­eta­bles, han­dle a firearm, think for them­selves, and re­cite and be proud of the con­tri­bu­tions that cit­i­zens of the tri-county area have made

to our na­tion.

But it’s still a good idea to leave Southern Mary­land ev­ery once in a while, to be among other peo­ple and ex­pe­ri­ence dif­fer­ent places. Just fly­ing across the coun­try with four kids can be quite the char­ac­ter-build­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, not only for the kids but for the par­ents, too. We just re­turned from seven days in Wy­oming, and all around, the va­ca­tion was well worth the blood, sweat, and tears it took to sur­vive and en­joy it.

Many of the peo­ple in Wy­oming re­minded me of back home. The work ethic, self-re­liance, and just plain tough­ness of Wy­oming’s most iconic res­i­dent, the cow­boy, are the same char­ac­ter­is­tics that de­fine the farm­ers and wa­ter­men of Southern Mary­land. A life on the farm or water might be a far cry from rop­ing steer, but all are gen­tle­manly, work from dawn till dusk, and don’t shy away from a hard­ship or pain.

If you spend some time chat­ting with the peo­ple of Wy­oming, you’ll find they value their free­dom and in­de­pen­dence and are ex­cep­tion­ally po­lite and friendly. Driv­ing around, one of the first things you’ll no­tice is the pop­u­la­tion den­sity. To pro­vide a com­par­i­son, Prince Ge­orge’s County has more peo­ple (about 900,000) than does Wy­oming (about 600,000), yet P.G. County could fit into Wy­oming over 50 times.

Over the gen­er­a­tions, folks in Wy­oming have learned to de­pend on them­selves. One of the chal­lenges you face as some­one from the East Coast driv­ing through ru­ral Wy­oming is find­ing your­self at a four-way in­ter­sec­tion. You’ll just want to get on about your busi­ness as ef­fi­ciently as pos­si­ble, how­ever the other three driv­ers will ex­pend valu­able sec­onds mak­ing friendly waves and sig­nal­ing to the other driv­ers to go first, re­gard­less of the or­der ev­ery­one stopped. No one is ever in a hurry, which is re­fresh­ing.

I don’t know ex­actly how com­mon bear in­ci­dents are on a per capita ba­sis in the

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