Item 1 in “40 Things Every Delawarean Should Do“:
My family and I were enjoying the St. Anthony’s Italian Festival last summer when I saw U.S. Sen. Chris Coons walking along. I stopped him and quickly conveyed an idea. He shook my hand (Item 18: “Shake hands with your pols”), listened, introduced his friends, said thanks, then parted. Duration of exchange: two minutes.
My beloved wife: “You can’t do that.”
“The poor man just wants to enjoy himself.”
“I’m sure he is.”
“I’m sure he does not come to the festival to get assaulted.”
“I didn’t exactly assault him, and, anyway, that’s what happens. This is Delaware. It’s not a big town.”
My much better half hails from the Philly area. Like many non-natives, she was surprised to discover just how common it is to see our elected officials out and about. Soon after moving here, she encountered our congressman, then John Carney, campaigning outside the grocery store. “That would never happen in Pennsylvania,” she remarked. A week or two later, we were eating at our local Italian joint when a fellow diner, noticing my father-in-law’s Orioles jacket, struck up a conversation about the team’s pitching roster. Duration of exchange: three or four minutes before the tall gentleman excused himself. “He sure was a friendly a guy,” my father-in-law commented afterward.
“That was one of our U.S. senators,” I told him.
“True. He lives pretty much around the corner from here.”
“That would never happen in Pennsylvania.”
Not that chance meetings with senators or congressmen—or former vice presidents, or even your local rep or councilman—is the beginning and end of being a Delawarean. But it’s a special part of who we are. Writer Roger Morris nailed it.
So you can look at “40 Things Every Delawarean Should Do” as a primer, a sort of guide to our identity. These are things we enjoy doing because they shape who we are. If you have a few blanks on your punch list, get started.
Also in this issue, you’ll see work by the finalists in the Delaware Today Home Design Contest. I hope you’ll agree there are stunning examples of architecture, landscaping, interior design and more. If you’d like to learn who the winners are, please join us at the Delaware Art Museum on Nov. 14, when all will be revealed.
—Mark Nardone • Executive Editor