One of the best things about spending time in Rhode Island is that everyone sounds like Peter Griffin from “Family Guy.” Seth McFarland got everything right with his hit adult cartoon series. I have to say that I find the regional inflections and cadence of speech to be extremely comforting. Even addicting. After a few days in South County, I too find myself loosing the occasional R from various words.
The Rhody accent is ubiquitous here. And that makes me a clear outsider as soon as open my mouth. I get the “huh, ya naght frahm heah, ah ya?” look every time I walk into the lumber-yard or hardware store. I could try to fake it, but it would be horribly obvious and I’d risk getting beat up. Or worse yet, banned from my supply of pressure treated boards and deck screws. I’m getting by ok with my California drawl. So far, anyway.
Mostly, people are just nice in Rhode Island. It’s why we cried when we pulled our U-haul out of the driveway at 91 High Street eighteen years ago. We didn’t want to leave, felt apprehensive about our temporary move to Alaska, and moved heaven and earth to keep our little historic colonial home. It’s just cool here.
When we bought the house 21 years ago, the headline of the Providence Daily Journal was “Would The Last Person To Leave Rhode Island Please Shut Off The Lights.” Wakefield was a fairly run down neighborhood of South Kingstown with boarded up shops on Main Street, and Peace Dale was a no-fly-zone. A place you wouldn’t really want to walk around after dark.
Fast forward to present day. Peace Dale and Wakefield now have Historic District tags, Main Street is thriving with restaurants, pubs, and shops. The bike path right behind our house runs 7 miles to Kingston Station in one direction and 2 miles to Narragansett Town Beach in the other. You wouldn’t want or need a car unless you were dumb enough to start a major construction project with your mother-in-law’s rusted out Mercedes.
I love Alaska. It’s big. The mountains rise straight from the ocean. Bears amble across our back yard and we can walk to a chairlift. It’s the largest US State by massive proportions. With one foot firmly planted in our biggest state, it’s really nice to have the other in the smallest. Go Little Rhody.