And I don't mean farmland and cattle.
I'm a Jersey girl, people.
I grew up in a town that is two-square miles.
So small that we didn't have school buses.
But we did manage to fit four elementary schools, one middle school, one high school, three fire stations, a bazillion churches and a downtown where I learned to parallel park in those two-square miles.
Then add 10,000 people.
It's a close-knit community.
One of the things I love about it, especially now that I've been away from it for so long, are the traditions. The fourth of July is one of the town's big events.
The parade is quintessential small-town.
Residents put their chairs out two or three days in advance to reserve their spot to watch the parade.
|These chairs were put out the night before. Small town awesomeness.|
|My sweet pea niece and her pop-pop|
|Never bother a boy and his breakfast sandwich.|
|Sisters. And no, we didn't plan the shirts.|
A parade full of marching bands in full uniform, beauty queens on mustang convertibles, sparkling clean fire trucks.
Everyone stands when the flag or the military goes by.
Seeing your former kindergarten teachers, the parents of your high school friends, and kids you used to babysit who are now legally adults.
Yup, I'm old.
My very southern husband got the full Fourth of July package this past weekend, including a trip to the Jersey Shore.
And I am glad to report that NO ONE resembled Snooki.
He and the rest of the southern United States are convinced that 99% of the population of NJ is made up of versions of Jersey Shore cast members.
Take a look at the picture. I rest my case: normal humans reside in NJ. For the most part.
I've been blessed with a good man. A few months ago, when we were planning this NJ trip, and this girl was pretty lonely and missing her friends and family in many different states, he started concocting a plan.
One of the days in NJ, he surprised me with a trip to NYC to see the Lion King. Highly recommended!
Then... we went to dinner. And I walked in the restaurant to find my three best friends from college waiting for me. After college, the four of us got together twice a year to reconnect. Then marriages and kids happened and it got hard to plan getaways. Our last time together was over three years ago.
My husband had been emailing and texting with them over the past three months to bring them in to the city for a reunion.
That's a good man.
So grateful for family, small towns, and best friends!