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Sunday, November 21, 2004

Delmarva Stories

During [college], I lived in Salisbury, MD and went to school 15 miles south in Princess Anne. Recently Salisbury has gained some media attention for being where [ Michael Phelps] earned not a gold medal but a DUI (why he would be there, I have no idea), though what Salisbury is most famous for is it's chicken.

Now I can't recall a single place you could get fried chicken other than a certain AM-PM-like minimart, but that's beside the point. Salisbury is the home of [ Purdue Chicken], one of the world's largest producers of poultry. The entire economy of the area is dependent on Purdue.
Every day when driving to school I would be surrounded by trucks carrying live chickens, frozen chickens, or eggs. And just about any kind of truck you could imagine was used, from 18 wheelers to converted school buses. The school buses were the worst, they carried live chickens in cages, streaming a long trail of white feathers behind them. Chickens, I found out, get carsick. So not only are you in a storm of feathers behind one of those things, but your car becomes streaked with chickenpuke, The key was to move in close to the rear of the truck to draft inside the splash zone. Being a college student who was saving money, I got very good at drafting the trucks and putting it into neutral to save gas.

The DelMarVa peninsula was a very interesting place to be. 7 miles north of Salisbury proper was the border with Delaware, which was also the official Mason-Dixon line. While it wasn't deep in Alabama, you definitely got a feeling you were in the south. NASCAR was huge, and Hooters was where you took the wife and kids for Sunday dinner. Thirty miles east of Salisbury was Ocean City, a major summer tourist area. 90 minutes north was Wilmington Delaware and slightly beyond that Philadelphia. 90 minutes west was Annapolis, and beyond that DC. Other than those places, there was nothing nearby. If you wanted a selection bigger than the small Waldenbooks in Salisbury, it was a trip to Annapolis or Wilmington for Borders or Barnes and Noble. While Salisbury didn't have much in the way of books, for some reason it had more than enough pet stores. There seemed to be one on every block on Rt. 13, in every minimall or shopping area, usually next to a Rent-A-Center (yes, I want to rent my furniture at inflated prices, for the rest of my life).

While I was there, something was making people sick. They were aware it was something in the water, but had no idea what. After I moved on, I read about the cause in the national press: [ flesh eating bacteria]
The short version of the story is that runoff from the Purdue facility less than a mile from my apartment caused the bacteria to flourish in the rivers and streams in the area. When it rained in Salisbury, the river flooded my whole apartment complex. Lovely, eh?

11/21/2004 05:00:00 PM ] [  0 comments  ]
A good quick laugh