Experiencing something different
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