Well, some people might not consider Missouri the South. But Cape Girardeau is located in the Southeast tip of the state, fairly close to Illinois, Kentucky, AND Tennessee. Before I moved to this little hamlet, one of my old teachers told my mother she thought I would have a hard time adjusting to living there. Clearly she thought I was super dedicated to hunting, tractors, chewing tobacco, and other things that scream country. Guess what: You can do all those things in Missouri, plus they have smoking laundromats. Yep, that’s right. And you know what, I adjusted just fine. Actually, there was no major adjustment period at all.
The visit to my last place of residence was brief, jam-packed, and wonderful. From the moment I stepped off the scary 7-person plane on to Cape Giradeau’s airport tarmac, I felt a comforting sense of familiarity. It was so good to see all my friends again (and my folks!), the town I grew to know and love, and many reminders of why I pursued a writing program. All of these things were much needed and so fulfilling.
A few things had changed about Cape: restaurant and bar turnover and new bike lanes on major roads. Of the bar turnover, our favorite Thursday night spot is now only used for special events as an extension of the original restaurant. Seeing the empty bar on Friday night was like officially marking the end of an era.
Some things I had forgotten about that I missed: everything within walking distance, smoky bars, smoky-smelling clothes the next day, day-drinking with no stigma attached, the river’s charm, or seeing someone you know within your first five minutes there. Seriously. It didn’t happen within the first five minutes, but Jess, Mickey, and I saw another random friend at the restaurant we went to my first night.
You gotta love small towns.
But, for the most part, everything was the same and it didn’t feel weird to be back, not a bit. Not even when I almost got hit by a car because I forgot people don’t stop for pedestrians in Missouri.
Here are a few of the reasons why I love this place:
And these are just a few from my trip down there from Maryland (one M state to another):