…But they could be mine.

I was cleaning out (See honey, I’m doing it), and came across an old National Geographic Traveler article penned by Willard Scott in the early 1990’s. I loved that magazine back then. In fact, it was one of the inspirations for me to get started in this whole Hidden America thing. They had a cool calendar of festivals and events in an era before searchable databases. Any way, I did not want to just read about them, but wanted actually get to experience the, When I found that others felt the same way, I decided that I had a service that could help others. 30 years later we are still plugging along. Anyway, that is not the purpose of this entry.

Willard Scott’s posting (A last page article entitled “Travels with….Willard Scott” was headlined “You Can’t Beat the U.S.A.”. (I think the headline writers could have done better with something less jingoistic).

The article was wonderful Willard at his best.

Here are some excerpts – they fit as well today as they did back then:

“I just love America. I don’t really have to leave my Virginia farm to enjoy this land, but it’s still a thrill for me to fly from place to place, to watch the land change from season to season. I have almost a pride of ownership when I look down from a plane and see the Mississippi or the Missouri flowing along, or when I fly above the snow capped tops of the Rockies or down through the desert Southwest, over the Grand Canyon”.

“About a year ago I flew across the Great Smokie in the fall to a town on the Ohio River called Portsmouth. These towns of ours, large and small, are jewels, but nowadays they’ve mostly been forgotten. People traveling in the United States most often think of visiting San Francisco or Disney land. Or they talk about going abroad to Europe’s cities. They just aren’t aware of the beauty of a town like Portsmouth, Ohio. But I promise you that if you go there in the fall, when the trees are turning colors on the riverbanks, you’ll see something spectacular”.

“People say we’ve become homogenized, but that’s not so. America’s regional diversity is alive and well. There’s a world of difference between the South and the Midwest and the Northeast. Just look at regional foods. You could plan a whole year, maybe two, eating your way across America, from lobsters in Maine to the walleyes in the Great Lakes to the beef in Montana to the oyster-shucking festival, salmon bakes, and buffalo barbecues in the Northwest”.

“And don’t forget the South. I’m a big Southerner…I love biscuits, pecan pie, fried chicken, country ham…But to me the best food in the world, for that matter, is Cajun cooking”

“I belive that in the next decade (1990’s) the world is going to realize how much America has to offer – its scenery, its food, its culture and especially its people…”.

Thanks Willard.

I think it is still waiting to be discovered.

Many are hurrying to Cuba to see it before it changes for ever. Perhaps they should contemplate here closer to home, before it, too, changes forever.