Inspiring Times, Adventures Across the Street

Two nights ago Charlie and I were sitting around and I asked him if he wanted to go on a picture taking adventure. I really love to watch him in action, and I enjoy snapping a photo or two along the way (okay, this particular outing it was closer to 50, most of which screamed amateur).
So we started out warming up our button pressing fingers in the yard, taking pictures of plants and anything that generally was interesting. From there we walked all around the downtown area of Matthews, playing Town Tourists.
We crossed from our neighborhood over Trade Street (the implications of the name Trade are true, this was the street where merchantiles were based, right beside the railroad and the Depot) into another neighborhood of a similar era as our own.
I sometimes feel a bit hypocritical being blatantly liberal and simultaneously anti-progressive when I bemoan the new developments in this downtown area. The influx of yuppies not only points a neon sign towards my untraditional leanings, but also to my lower-than-theirs standard of living which is also significantly lower than the household in which I was raised. Its complicated and evokes strange feelings of inadequacy, making me want to display my college degree and any intellectual or artistic honors I have received to validate myself. Odd, I know, but really I want to chat with the neighbors and feel like I can be respected. . . an experience yet to happen. What a long tangent.
So over Trade Street we go. Into a neighborhood of houses which seem to have been planned and built in a pattern of concentric rectangles. The edge of the neighborhood has the traditional small-town homes, the earliest residences of the area, the larger homes of the wealthier bankers and tradesmen. Farther into the neighborhood the houses evolve into 1940s designs, then 1950s, then 1960s. The most contemporary (aside from the few houses built within the last 5 years in styles that disappointingly mimic craftsmen style homes with plastic siding, thereby erasing any true styling of CRAFTsman) seem to be early 70s blase ranch houses, but there are very few of these.
This neighborhood is quaint. The houses all have comforting plants and landscaping that escapes formality by establishing character. The neighbors smile and say hi as they pass by walking their dogs and seemingly enjoy taking the fresh air in. Walking for both exercise and enjoyment?? Not in my neighborhood. We passed cats lazily sleeping on wide porches. Lawns beautifully lush, green, several inches tall and intermixed with weeds. But common enough in the neighborhood it didn't seem scornful. There were patches of vegetables in many of the yards. There was even a house with full shade in their yard, so vegetables and melons were planted 2 feet from the street, a spot I assumed, that was the only sunny area in their yard.
We found an overgrown vacant lot heavily spotted with huge, juicy blackberries, and ate some right off the vine.
It was charming, like adventuring as a kid. And all it took was a quick walk around the block, suddenly I remembered why I liked Matthews and the small-town vibe. I went home revitalizated and reminded that my mindset was the minority only among my immediate neighbors.

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