Potlucks are a staple at campgrounds. They are a good way to meet people and it's fun to eat something besides your own cooking. But when you are at a large campground with over 1,000 people, you can't invite everyone all at once, so we have enjoyed a number of potlucks in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas only meeting our fellow citizens from the Land of Lincoln. Each state would choose a different date to hold a similar get together. An inevitable part of the event involves introducing ourselves and where in Illinois we are from. We have been amazed how few of our purported neighbors were from towns we had heard of. They were all from little burgs downstate. Considering we have lived in IL all our lives, you would think that we would have at least heard of the place names. I checked my blog entry from 2006 and I had written that while 200 people attended, only six were from metropolitan Chicago.
Now we know why; all the urban and suburban residents of IL are here in Florida. We would guess that most of the folks who live south of I-80 would find this campground (and the others in the state) much too expensive. Real estate in small town Illinois is much cheaper than where we live and probably salaries are much lower as well. And here, we didn't bother with a potluck; we all met at a restaurant for breakfast and paid someone else to do the work. As everyone was introduced and shared where they lived, we not only recognized the name of every town; we had been to most of them. It was a considerably smaller group than we expected- maybe 50 people. Many knew one another quite well; most people are not gypsies like us and they take the time to put down roots in their home away from home, really get to know each other, and stay in contact with throughout the year. Today one discussion topic was where to get together and camp in IL this summer.