268 Richmond, VA: Traditions

Richmond had long been a train hub; one of the first railroad lines in America was constructed here. The locals claim it's the only place in the world where three railroads intersect at one place, a place they call "Triple Train."

Main Street Station was a train station Hopper would love. They built the highway around it, because it was so cherished of a landmark. }

The nearby River City Diner had a fa├žade of slick black marble and polished steel, and a menu that included fried apples. My waitress said it was a common breakfast food in these parts. She had reddish brown hair unevenly cut short above her shoulders, and blue eyes peered out from black-rimmed glasses that were chipped.

She pointed to my backpack and papers spread out across the table. "Are you visiting?" she asked. I told her why I was in town.

"The one with windows, right?" she double-checked about the Hopper. "At the Virginia Museum?" Then she answered, "I lived in other southern cities, and they are less isolated here than the other cities I've lived in. It's a really nice town. I'm sure people say that about everywhere. Everybody in their hometown is somewhat isolated, because they tend not to leave their hometowns."

"Do I think I'm as isolated as other people?" she asked herself abruptly. "No, I don't think I'm isolated at all. I don't believe in it. Because I'm happy. I have people around me all the time. Friends. I just recently moved here. I was modeling in New York City."

"You chose to come back?" I gagged. "That's a pretty glamorous gig."

She said, "It's always glamorous if it happens in New York--until you work with a photographer. I need a place to start again. I like it here. It's comfortable. That doesn't necessarily mean I don't feel isolated. Richmond is kind of in between. We're not a big city: we're really not. But we're not really a small town either. A lot of people think bad about Southerners. But I've lived there with them, ya know. And people here are not isolated. Does that help?"

No comments: