When my mother moved us to St. Mary's County (when I was just a little thing), it was mostly farm country, surrounded on three sides by water... an absolutely gorgeous place. Over the years, of course, it has grown and developed like nobody's business. Some parts of the County are almost unrecognizable, for someone who hasn't been there in 7 years! I kept missing one particular turn... couldn't, for the life of me, recognize this one intersection because the darn Western Steer isn't there anymore!
After I graduated from high school, my family left the County. So the only times I've returned in the past 14 years have been to visit Christie, who is my only friend still remaining there.
So, anyway, my trip to the County last weekend was really pretty emotional and surreal at times. Here I was, in a place that I knew like the back of my hand at one point in my life... the only place I'd ever lived and called "home." Yet, now, so many things looked foreign to me.
Driving down the main road, approaching the County, I couldn't tell you what was coming up next... I had forgotten all the landmarks. But, as soon as I happened upon them, it was like "oh yeah..." and it all came flooding back to me, like I'd just driven those roads yesterday.
Christie's house and our hotel, and the church and reception site, were all at opposite ends of the County. So, I spent a lot of the weekend driving back and forth, and tried to take a different route each time... so that I could squeeze as much of "home" as possible into 2 days.
Here are some things I saw along the way.
The house I grew up in. It looks exactly the same today as it did when we moved out of it, 20 years ago.
The huge tree there, in the middle... my mom planted that tree in our yard when we first moved into the house. When we moved out, it was about the size of the little tree next to it, on the right. Today it's huge-mongous! I couldn't get over that.
The fairgrounds. I have so many memories of the good ole St. Mary's Co. Fair. Every year, the schools close on Friday the week of the fair... and everyone goes.
And, the place where I spent my last 4 years as a St. Mary's Co. resident. The place that I really hated walking into almost every morning of those 4 years... but now, I look back on with fond memories (funny how that works). The school itself has undergone a huge transformation since I graduated in 1994; it looks nothing like MY school.
As my dad and I were driving down the road toward St. Mary's County on Friday, this song came on the radio. And it couldn't have been more appropriate for me that weekend. Who says you can't go home?