We have 50 of them. States.
Here in the United States of America. I am not sure how “united” we are these days. But. The “states” part is true. And every state has its good little highs and its bad little lows.
I just read yesterday, that Indiana is ranked #50 for Gay & Lesbian Rights. That should not be a big surprise, given that Vice President Pence was Governor there. For me, this is terrible news. I know a LOT of gay people. Really amazing and wonderful people, who deserve equal rights and treatment just like everyone else. But most of the time, we get shorted there. And obviously, many people work very hard to ensure that we don’t have equal rights. Hence, Indiana.
But I didn’t want to get all side bent on the gay thing. I wanted to talk about the 50 different states. All of them are very unique, and each has its endearing quality. Let’s stay with Indiana for a moment. Like up in Wabash. That city was illuminated by electric lights at 8 p.m. on March 31, 1880. This is important because it became the first city in the entire, great, big world, to be lit by electricity. They did it by putting four “Brush lights” on the top of the Wabash courthouse. It sounds a little bit like cheating to me, but they are in the books for this.
Every place, from sea to shining sea has a trick up its sleeve.
Like Maine. There, we will find the easternmost city in the United States. It is called, quite descriptively, Eastport. As such it is “considered” the first place in the United States to see sunlight each morning. Sunny side up in Maine. Not to mention the rockin’ lobsters.
Some of us might be sitting in our armchairs wondering about Arkansas. What does Arkansas bring? Well, here it is. The World’s Championship Duck Calling Contest is held annually in Stuttgart. And if that were not enough, in 1962, an Arkansan businessman named Sam Walton opened up shop. Yes, the very first Walmart store came to life in Rogers, Arkansas. Now of course, there are over 11,000 stores across 27 countries. We have a few of those here in Ohio.
Ohio. O-HI-O. I was born and raised here. For a long time, I didn’t care too much for Ohio. But now, it seems somehow better. Well. Maybe not better, but less repulsive. Anyway. We have a ton of things that have happened here, to our merit. If you like baseball, this is a good spot. We have the Cleveland Indians to the north, of course. But then there are the Reds. And long ago, they were the Cincinnati Red Stockings. They were established in 1869 and that made them the first professional baseball team in the nation. Here in the Buckeye State, we have two other firsts that you might find in any stadium: America’s first chewing gum and the first hot dog. And of course, there is the whole controversial flying thing, with the Wright Brothers. Up, up, and away.
Yes, every state here has a goodie or two. How about Kentucky? More than 100 native Kentuckians have been elected governors of other states. Montana has the largest Migratory Elk herd in the nation. There is a great big ball of twine in Cawker City, Kansas. It measures over 38′ in circumference and weighs more than 16,750 pounds. I am told it is still growing. Missouri, that “Show Me State” is home to the first successful parachute jump to be made from a moving airplane. I am not sure how one would jump from a non-moving airplane. It would be a short leap. But the “moving” jump was made by Captain Berry at St. Louis, in 1912.
So there you have it. Another truth about life. No matter who we are, or where we go, there are positives and negatives. Plusses and minuses. The good and the bad. Even in ourselves. I think sometimes, the big trick is to find the good and favorable thing. Sugar makes the medicine go down, and all. But, let’s not forget Wisconsin. Cheesy, I know. But. The typewriter was invented in Milwaukee in 1867.
Which eventually, led to me, writing this.
And you, to reading it.
And here we are together, once again. United. And in some sort of state.
“We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.”
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
“Pit race against race, religion against religion, prejudice against prejudice. Divide and conquer! We must not let that happen here.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt
“John Muir, Earth — planet, Universe
[Muir’s home address, as inscribed on the inside front cover of his first field journal]”
― John Muir