Road Trip USA: Don't forget Delaware!
As a Nebraskan, I’m sensitive to state clichés and regional slurs, to shallow descriptors like “flyover country” or “the sticks,” umbrella terms thoughtlessly deployed by those who never left the airport, or the interstate, or never visited at all. I often feel a strange kinship with folks from West Virginia, say, or Oklahoma, folks who know what it’s like to state where they’re from and brace themselves for impact.
So I mean this without irony or malice: we forgot about Delaware. For the last seven months, my fiancée Mel and I — and our goldenodoodle, Costello, too — have been traveling from one state to the next, from Arizona to New Mexico to Texas, across the South and up the East Coast. After Maryland, we had planned to hit western Pennsylvania and continue up north. When the atlas reminded us of another state to the east — The First State! The Small Wonder! The Home of Vice President Joe Biden! — we felt, frankly, stupid. All I could picture were Wayne and Garth standing before the green screen in Wayne’s World, jumping from one state to another: New York, Hawaii, Texas. “Howdy, pardners!” Garth says. “Let’s raise and rope bronc-os!” When they reach Delaware, though, they freeze. After a fidgety pause, Wayne simply repeats, “Hi ... I'm in Delaware.”