Why We Stay
While Justin and Monique kept things flowing over the long weekend, I took some time with my family and my folks (down from New Hampshire) to take in some Ocean State sights. Well, mostly. First, I had some soccer duties to attend to on Saturday morning–hey, it was uniform day!
We went to Waterfire on Saturday night. It was a perfect Rhode Island night. Not too hot or humid, just the hint of a fresh breeze in the air. The normal lighting ceremony was accentuated by torch-lighting for those who would be accompanying the various opera singers who would be “spot singing” throughout the evening. The usual tourists were around as were quite a few college kids. (I wonder how many “regular Rhode Islanders” attend Waterfire?) My daughters liked it all–they always do!–and made sure we saw the Lady and the Gargoyles so that they could get their fortune. Add in some Del’s and it was a perfect night for all.
On Sunday, we continued our tradition of attending Newport’s Last Day of Summer party at Easton’s (1st) Beach. In addition to the great food and carousel–and beautiful beach–there was a waterslide and some other activities for the kids, including a sand castle contest, sidewalk chalk contest, pie-eating contest…you get the picture. The kids had a blast (no sand castle prize this year, but last year they got a 2nd in the Kids Division and a 3rd for “Best use of only beach materials” for their volcano “erupting” with red seaweed). The day was punctuated by a stroll on the cliff walk. Again, another great one.
My point? This was truly a “Chamber of Commerce” weekend here in Rhode Island. And that’s one of the reasons we love it here. Of all of the New England states, Rhody is truly unique with its relatively temperate climate, protected Narragansett Bay and, as Dan Yorke would say, the water. Throw in its proximity to Boston and New York and all of the history…just a great spot.
Over the years, I’ve often read or heard people who protect the political and economic status quo counter those of us looking for change with, “Well, if it’s so bad, why don’t you just leave.” This past weekend was a good example of why we stay. But it’s only part of it. Since taking a job down here, my wife and I have had two beautiful daughters who have grown up here. We are active in the community and school and have made many dear friends. We’ve put down roots–this is home, even if we weren’t born here. We’ve invested ourselves and our time in this place. We want to make it better for the future and do what we can. Is it quixotic? Perhaps. But we think it’s a challenge worth taking and we owe it to our kids to keep at it.
ADDENDUM: To that end….my parents have E-Z Pass in New Hampshire and used it to get across the Newport Bridge. My Dad noted that one of the benefits of E-Z Pass is that you’re supposed to be able to, you know, pass easily through the toll both and continue on your way. Not in Rhode Island, though. Even the E-Z Pass lanes on the Newport Bridge have a gate that comes down and stops you until the pass is read. With the tolls going up as of today, that might be something worth addressing.