Friday, July 6, 2007

On Becoming a Local (II)

On Wednesday, we went to the local 4th of July parade. We arrived right at the start time, which was 10 a.m., and got a decent place to watch from, right at the end of the parade route.

Our local parade wasn't any different than 4th of July parades anywhere else in the country, we had all of the same sort of stuff: The Kiwanis Club, The Veterans of Foreign Wars, The American Legion, The Military Order of The Cootie (no kidding), Boy Scouts, High School bands, churches, The Moose Lodge, local politicians, and even the Governor of Virginia...but it was a bit different for me this year.

One of the first things that Mrs GF said to me when we got to the parade was: "How long do you think it will be before you see someone you know? " I told her it probably wouldn't be long... and I was right, because directly across the street from us, was a lady whose son goes to school with soccergirl, and whose son I know because his soccer team practices on the same field as ours. Oh, that was the first, but it wasn't the last... We saw HB, a retiring member of the County Board of Supervisors (we worked on her last two campaigns), we saw CB, former Mayor of the adjoining municipality, who is running for State Delegate (We worked on his Mayoral campaign), we saw HS, who manages the local Supermarket, and we saw a few other people that we know from this or that thing around the local area. It was a bit much.

As I said before, this parade was different for me. Different because I didn't feel like I was just a spectator, I felt like a participant, because I know kids from this or that high school, or because I know people that belong to a few of the churches that were represented, or because I am familiar with this or that club, or have campaigned for quite a few local politicians (some successful, some not).

As someone who has lived a fairly nomadic adult life until I married Mrs GF, feeling a sense of community like this is completely outside the realm of my existance... but I have to tell you that I am enjoying it.

I guess most would call it community.

I call it home.

10 comments:

MedStudentWife said...

You know - in this silly world of today, if many looked deep down, its what we really want.. a belonging to a community. But its not happening.

I lived in a town, for 2 years, that was less than 100,000 people. That is where I first experienced community as you described it here (right down to the parade experience),for the first time since I had been a child. It was a good feeling :)

I moved back to a city of too many people, after the 2 years, with no "belonging " and if you do belong its "suburban rules"., or broken downtown stuff.

I'm so glad you had such a great day :) and was able to get that which you had been craving.

Its all good *Im really smiling for you right now*

Maybe you found your paradise for a time.

super des said...

That story makes me all warm & fuzzy.

Mathman6293 said...

When we moved from Suburban Chicago to Rural NW GA the 4th of July parades moved away with us. My son and I would march with our baseball league. We always saw people we knew. We just don't have that community here.

Ambassador said...

GF,

The company I work for is contemplating a move to the DC area (most of the contracts they have are based there) and the overture has been made to me, in hopes of luring me to come along for the ride. Right now, I can't even imagine how to begin...

I have lived in New Orleans for almost 16 years, and in the time, I've come to grow this enormous extended family - my church choir, my theatre life, my neighborhood, my teaching, my volunteering. When blood relatives or out-of-town friends visit me, they are instantly struck by the fact that I can't go anywhere without knowing someone...the Mayor of the French Quarter, if you will.

Since the thing called Katrina, the sense of community has solidified even more...One day, not long after the end of my exile, an old acquaintance told me that New Orleans would be the same if I hadn't come back. That was worth a good, very public crying jag.

Glad you've found your home. I don't know that I could leave mine just now, after working to find it for so long. Great post! Ken

Desert Songbird said...

As humans we have a need to belong, to feel as if we "fit in" somewhere. I don't care how independent, how nomadic, how "lone wolf" someone claims to be, there is an innate need to feel as if one is part of something. I say it's a good thing, and I'm glad you found yourself a home.

Jennifer said...

Hey, I was at that parade, marching with my boss that happens to be one of those electeds you were talking about. :-) Small world.

Gunfighter said...

Indeed it is, Jennifer.

Would your boss the guy whoe fundraiser invitation I got in the mail today?

Gunfighter said...

Or is he FP... in which case, we have spoken on the phone before.

Jennifer said...

Ha Ha. Not us. We just had one. But I'm pretty sure I know who you got an invite from. I'll probably be at that one too!

Gunfighter said...

Well, if you want to tell me via email, I promise not to blab.