We are not just making peanut butter sandwiches.
Of course there is a knife, peanut butter, and bread. But, there is also the bliss from reminiscing of a time where peanut butter sandwiches were central to your identity. The wonder-bread like wheat bread, pillowy and chewy, slathered with Skippy (crunchy is preferred.) Watching my cousin ravenously biting into her bread after pulling it out of the bag. Making sure not to leave any mess on grandma’s linoleum countertop because she is a picky one. These details keep family memories so vivid. Food tends to be a universal relationship adhesive.
Maryland is a modest state of abundance. Its my second home, an escape from the concrete and juice bars. Its the traditional American home I never really had, but always welcomed. I think its such an underrated state. Its versatility is unmatched. Its a modestly blue state with homes that proudly hoist the confederate flag. It can’t get any better than that.
Its rich traditional American culture combined with an increasing diversity over the recent decades resembles the whole of America, both its successes and its tribulations. I curiously pondered this while speaking with my Aunt and Uncle, both proud Maryland natives. They highlighted the previous simplicity that has been altered given changing of times. Montgomery County was once the most affluent in Maryland. Times were blissful in the seventies, with less electronics and more bike riding. But, there was some resistance to certain changes aspect. “There is a lot more hispanic.” my aunt says, “And Asian. Ooh, growing biotech companies as well.” my uncle adds. These seemingly stereotypical responses to diversity are expected, as I learned that many upper middle class families moved to the nearby Howard County, contributing to its place now as the most well off county in America, as of 2013. I try not to judge either side, my relatives or the more recent residents. Everyone grows up under diverging values and perspectives. Its your independent behavior which matters. Either way, Montgomery County still holds not just my family, but many benefits. I mean, it imposed a bag tax. That significantly impresses the environmentalist I am becoming. It would really impress me if the tax was five dollars rather than a nickel.
History, shall I start rambling about the colonial times? When men hunted and universal sanitation was a foreign concept. Maybe you should know a tad bit, make you appear as if you really do your research when you travel to the D.C. area. Montgomery County is North of Washington D.C. and symbolizes an eighteen wheeler load of history, particularly given Maryland’s title as one of the thirteen colonies. It is made up of ancestry, as seen through the town names of Germantown and Dickerson. America’s capital was actually carved out of this county back in the day. It is now apparently some part of the wagon wheel design that is the D.C. area, or so I have been told. I have yet to literally analyze it so feel free to research it if urban design or maybe cartography is your fancy.
But, let’s focus on some fun things. Colonial history can be very straightforward. It is interesting and imperative in maintaining a solid patriotism, though.
While I am in Maryland, I tend to want to do things that I do not have in the tri-state. Its a treat that I do not know if I will be able to have again next weekend or next year. Georgetown, in D.C., is a fun quick trip that I always cherish. But, let us be honest: it just is more colonial looking Soho. I venture for the nitty gritty, the sports bar The Greene Turtle or Alex’s. Though the former is no longer bound to Maryland borders, its location in Ocean City is a must. Ledo’s Pizza cannot be missed. Hey, it does not match NYC’s, but it is imperative to so many memories. Also, its SQUARE, Grandma-style.
My trip this time did not include those places above, but provided further awareness on places I have been over the years, but did not take too much advantage of. I found myself in D.C., but to DuPont Circle this time. It is bounty of shops and restaurants make it a popular location for both the day and the night. This basic, touristy location was balanced by trying a common family restaurant, Seibel’s. Its simple old time charm combined with homemade ice creams illustrates its amiable setting. I adored the reflections on the past, things I do not even have any connection to, but my parents, aunts, and uncles definitely could reflect on. Coincidentally, my table drew thought to 1957, the commencement of the Space Age and the year my father was born.
I chose not to go with breakfast, but a turkey sandwich on rye, with (drum roll please) CURLY FRIES. This fun food was sabotaged for me with the horror that is primary school cafeteria food. I did not take a photo this because, well, my stomach overrides some of my decisions.
Aren’t the summer months great? It is marvelous how it provides more convenience for taking weekend trips. Skip town the minute work ends and bolt for the nearest bus or train station. Every bit of anxiety and concern is left in the everyday work pattern that you will reluctantly meet Monday morning. The brief trip will not enable for a complete mental revitalization, but it at least refreshes your mind for whats ahead in the next week or so. If you are a last minute busy bee, may I add that buses such as Vamoose and Bolt Bus take walk ups, cash only.
My cousin decided that our little escape needed to be supplemented with some boozy jazz. I never really took up this method of travel, but I can now say that I recommend it, if you are not operating any type of vehicle. I also will openly suggest the Union Wine Company and their game changing installment of canned wine. Finally, a non beer drinker can fit in with the cool kids, without them knowing of course!
As I sit here typing and drinking GT’s Kombucha, I acknowledge that Maryland is another world to me and it always has been. It is not an unknown town somewhere in Hungary or Sri Lanka, though I am keen on discovering them one day. It represents an escape from my daily routine, which never relinquishes to accept me with open arms despite how much we grow and change. Clearly, I am no longer the peanut butter sandwich eating girl and I do not think many would expect me to not evolve, whether its to almond butter or fermented mushroom tea. Maryland is my far away quintessential American life. Montgomery County is where it a lot of it takes place. There are Safeways and suburbs. And I would not change it for the world.