There are variations on the theme, but the story goes basically like this:
“There I was, in (choose a favorite big city or exotic location) doing things I never dreamed of doing and meeting people I just couldn’t believe I was meeting. It was all very exciting. But then it was time to come home. And now I see Delaware in a whole new way. It’s an amazing little place. I never quite realized that before.”
I hear it all the time. Sure, there are those of us who left and never looked back. But there are plenty who returned, bringing their new perspectives and new ideas, changing things in subtle ways which, cumulatively, have had a big effect. And for every transplant who still hasn’t quite settled in or figured it out, there’s another who has embraced something unique.
Distilled to its essence, that something is intimacy.
There are about 75 percent more people crammed into the city of Philadelphia than there are in all of Delaware, and many of those Philadelphians never meet the people on the next block. Yet as scattered as we Delawareans are, we can still consider people in the next county to be our neighbors. It has nothing to do with proximity. It has everything to do with relationships.
We support each other. We help each other. Every one who left and came back found old friends waiting to welcome him home. Every new acquaintance we make leads to five more—before we start circling back to people we’ve known for ages. We all joke about six degrees of separation because we know it’s more like two.
I’ve known some of my friends since I was a toddler. My parents and uncles go back 65 years and more with some of their closest friends. And everyone welcomes newcomers all the time. It’s a special way of being.
So this month, when we traditionally praise all the restaurants and stores and services that make Delaware so fun and interesting, it’s worth remembering that what makes us best is ourselves. Enjoy.