A friend of mine lives on the western end of the Lehigh Valley and we like to pick on her and say that she lives “halfway to Ohio” since she’s so far away from everyone. As “remote” as she may be, it’s nothing compared to some of the places I’ve been as I’ve traveled around the country. In fact, the more I see of these great United States, the more I become certain that an area just like the Lehigh Valley is where I want to come home to.
Big cities like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia or Seattle just don’t do it for me. I’m not sure if it’s because I can’t ever find anywhere to park, because there are always so many people everywhere or because there just seem to be too many buildings crammed everywhere, but whatever their appeal is to the millions that live and work in them, I just don’t get it.
I’ve also seen the other end of the spectrum. I can recall a business trip to rural Virginia where I was driving around with a local and I mentioned an abandoned building. They quickly informed me that the building was not only not abandoned, but a family of twelve resided in it. Times like that made me not only feel fortunate for everything I have, but also showed me that there’s a whole other side to America. One that I’ve only briefly experienced, but it’s certainly opened my eyes to a whole new “normal” that a large part of the country lives every day.
Sure, the Lehigh Valley has its problems, but trips like the one I’m on this week where I’m about three quarters of the way to Ohio make me appreciate the Goldilocks area I grew up in. Not too big, not too small. It may not be “just right” but it’s close enough for me.