Welcome to Tar Heel Land

“Hmmm,” says hubby (looking at map on the Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina.  “Where does this map say we are? It’s supposed to be a look-out point enabling us to see three states…But how did the first mapmakers know where to put the boundaries? I mean, they couldn’t see the whole picture from above?”)

It seems cartographers are newly-aware that someone fudged the facts regarding where two state boundaries are, and that’s resulted in a whole lot of trouble for some people. In other words, those folks really aren’t residents of South Carolina, after all.—they’re “Tarheels” (click on that link to find out why they call them such)–residents of their sister state to the north. 

How does that impact them?  Well, certain store owners in that territory are concerned their trade may no longer be lawful or that it will be taxed differently (gas).  They now fear new rules will run them out of business.

Here’s my take on all of this:  Don’t blame the earlier surveyors. I simply cannot believe anyone got anything straight in the earliest exploration days of Lewis and Clark. Consider the facts they had few sophisticated machines, no satellites, no vehicles to go across huge expanses of land…no Google maps…In short, they were often flying by the seat of their collective pants, using astrolabes, for God’s sakes.

My point?  I even get lost in neighborhoods where streets are marked clearly and in grid fashion (New York—decidedly NOT Boston, where any luckless soul can become deranged.) So, I can’t fathom how earliest map-makers configured, drew lines out, determined where property divisions were.

And while I’m at it, how did property lines get established?  Take that littlest state,  Rhode Island (where I was born)…How did we get skunked so, by that little appropriation?  Was it a giant Monopoly game and we just lost—badly?  What?  Didn’t we know anyone in power (read that ‘King George or his cohorts’)?

It certainly wasn’t a fair and proportionate divvying out of available land.

I know, for instance, that founders of Rhode Island, Roger Williams and Anne Hutchinson, left in a huff—or were thrown out– because they wouldn’t worship the religion of others. In other words, they wanted religious freedom, which, by the way, was the reason Massachusetts Bay Colony formed, in the first place—to worship as they saw fit.

But once those original colonists had it, in hypocritical fashion, they disallowed that same principle to others. Isn’t that how it always plays out?  Once a power group gets in, they set the rules they want, denying others the same privilege.  Anyway, I diverge…

So, back to Rhode Island.  How did we end up with so little land?  Why did Texas get so much (was it really all about the Alamo, that one lone stand)?  We know originally Florida was considered ‘unsavory’ due to Indian attacks (don’t blame them; they were just trying to survive) and mosquitoes (doing what comes naturally,) but then they recovered nicely by becoming a mecca to Disney and all those over the age of  60.

Does Florida have such a big land mass because they created it (out of mangrove trees)?

If big state allocation is a ‘Southern thing,’ why did Maine get so much? Are we to believe that no one else wanted that land…as in the case of Seward’s Folly—Alaska? (By the way, like Florida, Alaskans also  got the last laugh,  as we see in Sarah Palin, and the Alaskan Pipe Line.)

The irony begs the question:  “Will we all never learn, to shut our mouths and stop dissing others?”

So, new residents of North Carolina, we welcome you (I can extend that greeting because I’m a North Carolina resident 5 months of the year.) We  actually chose North Carolina out of all states for our retirement home. A job didn’t pull us here nor were family and friends already here, a fact we hope to change, by getting daughters and their families to this promising region.

As to those first explorers—Hats off to you, for basically getting the whole country mapped out, pretty accurately, with damned few devices.  I can’t seem to get myself out of a few torturous drives through the mountains of North Carolina………. even with my GPS strapped to my dashboard.

Now, Rhode Island—that’s another whole entity.  I don’t really ever have a problem navigating there, with the exception of Woonsocket or Pawtucket, where I find myself coming and going, over and over.

Maybe Rhode Island lawyers should look into whether Rhode Islanders have legal recourse to protest earlier land allocation. Why?   We might be able to sue nearby Connecticut or Massachusetts for a more equitable adjustment.

I’ve always loved that Westerly, Rhode Island–Mystic, Connecticut stretch with the coastline, marsh grasses and charming harbors.

Yes, someone in Rhode Island should definitely follow what transpires in this North Carolina/South Carolina land flap….What happens there just may establish precedent.

In the meantime, enjoy the view from our other ‘home state,’ North Carolina, from the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway…The Tarheels did get sizable land allocation…so I still ask “Why did little Rhode Island get so little?” (My  God, we were even one of the first colonies?” That just adds to the mystery…)

I’ll be waiting for my answers, historians and cartographers (in the meantime, here’s a DVD that promises to answer the mystery) and read below for another tip a savvy reader mentions (I’m picking the book up tomorrow)….Now, feast your eyes on the beauty that is right down the street from our second home..

About admin

A lifetime teacher and realtor who's now a published writer, Colleen Kelly Mellor is a humorist first, ever aware of the thread that connects us all. Her works have appeared in the WSJ, Providence Journal, and CNN and NY Times-acclaimed medical blog, kevinMD.com, to name a few. All material on this blog is exclusive property of the author and cannot be reproduced without this author's express written consent.
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