The Rocket City Bloggers is a group that I play with every so often – my schedule doesn’t have a lot of free time lately, especially with STUPID ILLNESSES and the like – but this month’s Carnival is based on what our favorite part of Huntsville is.
I .. I had trouble with this one.
I moved here when I was ten. Up until that point, I had changed schools every two years (if not every year) due to rezonings and whatnot in Virginia, but they were all in the same town at least. Moving to another state? Seemed terrifying to me. Seriously.
I kid you not when I say I practiced a southern accent before we moved so I wouldn’t stick out in my new school.
I remember my first days in Huntsville very, very clearly – which is odd since I don’t remember much of years 18-23. I remember someone riding their horse down my street and me thinking, “Um. This is very weird.” (It’s not. We’re an urban-farming community.) And I remember wearing my long purple skirt and my fuchsia suede cowboy boots the first day of school and Jon Abbott saying, “HUBBA HUBBA.”
Hubba hubba, y’all. From a fifth grader.
It was then that I realized that Huntsville was not your average southern town. Oh, we do sweet tea, and we do community street festivals, and everything is pretty much closed on Sundays, but .. the people? The people are from everywhere.
I think my favorite part of Huntsville is the people.
We have a government army base here. We build space vehicles here. We have a prominent biotechnology and genomic research facility here. You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a rocket scientist. A ROCKET SCIENTIST. I mean – we do more than farm and bake biscuits is what I’m saying.
BUT! We also farm and bake biscuits!
Let’s talk about those things, too!
One of the first things that made us all feel welcome in Huntsville was the vast array of dining capabilities here. My mother spent time in Germany as a child, and we found an awesome German joint here! Locally! that made us all feel welcome. Great Italian options. Great Thai and Indian choices. And don’t even get me started on the sushi. And these aren’t chains; they’re locally owned businesses. In fact, chains will often debut a restaurant HERE to tweak it and fine-tune it before launching other locations. Because Huntsville LOVES FOOD.
I think my favorite part of Huntsville is the food.
We’ve started a tradition of only eating out at locally owned places (when it can be helped) so that we can keep the market alive. Because the Huntsville People have made the Huntsville Eateries part of a really rich tapestry of memories. Everyone my age grew up eating breakfast at Aunt Eunice’s Cafe. If you were at the hospital for any reason, you had your choice of white chili from Duffy’s Deli or delivery from Steak-Out (which started in Huntsville). If you were downtown for a festival or event, you’d get some lunch at Wild Rose Cafe and then some gelato from Sam & Greg’s. Late nights in the summer meant ice cream at Zesto’s. These are places that may or may not be around anymore, but created memories for generations way before mine.
But now let’s talk about the crossroads of my favorite parts of Huntsville. When people and food come together. And it’s often. We’ve seen that personally, even here lately. When anything happens – a birth, a death, a Saturday afternoon – there is food and company. You know that any life event will require space in your freezer for all of the casseroles coming your way. When your child is hospitalized, don’t worry about eating. Seriously, don’t. Also, make a list of things that would make your life easier, because people will come out of the woodwork to bring you anything and everything that you may need. You need not be the type to ask for help because help is coming to you. That’s what we DO here. We are a tight-knit people who know how to cook.
It sounds pretty superficial, my favorite parts of Huntsville. Food? People? That’s kind of stupid.
Except that it’s not. It’s like trying to single out the most beautiful part of a blossoming magnolia. The sprawling roots, the green waxy leaves, the fragrant massive white blossoms. They all make up this thing that is so strong, so unshakable, and so, so beautiful.
Also, I’m starving. Who wants to get lunch?