A Little About Me and My Home State of North Carolina

July 12, 2011 sexyknees

North Carolina Girl

I have lived in many countries and enjoyed the time away, but in the end there is only one place for me – North Carolina.  This is my home, and no matter how appealing another place may be I always return to where I keep my junk.  In part this is due to my parents, with whom I am very close (being both Irish and Japanese, being family-oriented is a part of my genetic makeup).  But no amount if glitz or glamor will ever replace that familiar patch of stars above the Old North State.

I’d like to tell you a bit about my home as it has a lot to do with who I am.  First of all, North Carolina was one of the original 13 colonies (named in honor of Charles 1 of England) and was settled in 1585.  It officially became a part of the United States on November 21, 1789.  Our state song is called, “The Old North State,” and was written by William Gaston and was adopted by the NC General Assembly in 1927.  Our state bird is the cardinal, our tree is the pine, and our flower is the dogwood.  Less known are our state mammal, insect, reptile, and gemstone, which are the grey squirrel, honeybee, eastern box turtle, and emerald.

Above are some personal items which represent various points of state interest.  I’ll start from the right and proceed to left:

The Marine Corps helmet, which you saw in my Memorial Day photo, honors our men and women of service at the Camp Lejune Marine Corps base in Jacksonville – home of the 2nd Marine Expeditionary force, 2nd Marine Division, the 2nd Marine Logistics Group, and other combat support units.  It also represents Cherry Point MCAS in Havelock.  Commissioned on May 20, 1942, it is home to Marine Transport Squadron 1, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, and the VMR-1 SAR.

The blanket represents our former textile industry, for which we were well known until most of our production was shifted overseas in the ’90’s.  The blanket also represents Tryon Palace in New Bern, which is where it was purchased.  Tryon Palace was one of the grandest buildings in colonial America and was the home of the governors of NC from 1770 until 1794.  In 1798 it was destroyed by fire, but was rebuilt and is now one of the state’s most famous tourist attractions.

The chair represents our famous furniture industry.  For the last 90 years, NC has held the moniker of being the “furniture capital of the world.”  If you own fine wooden furniture, most likely it was built somewhere in Highpoint area.

The “Cars” DVD represents our love for NASCAR races.  I am not exactly a NASCAR fan (I prefer formula 1 and Le Mans), but love the movie “Cars.”  That being said, I absolutely admire the skills of our famous drivers such as Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Bobby Labonte, Brian Vickers, etc.

Just in front of the “Cars” DVD is a small P-40 Warhawk fighter, also called the Kittyhawk by the members of the British Commonwealth, which is fortunate for me because it leads nicely into my next topic – Orville and Wilber Wright.  These two brothers are known for being the first to successfully design and fly a powered aircraft.  Called the “Wright Flyer” or “Flyer 1,” this seemingly simple yet very complex bi-wing aircraft took to the sky on December 17, 1903 at Kill Devil Hills, NC – just four miles south of Kitty Hawk, NC.  It stayed in the air for a whopping 12 seconds and flew a distance of 120 feet.  It is for this reason that our license plates read, “First in Flight.”  This claim has been contested by Ohio and France (and probably many others), but the evidence is hanging in the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC!  The P-40 also represents Seymour Johnson Air Force base (named after test pilot Seymour Johnson) in Goldsboro (commissioned in April of 1942 and is home to the 4th Fighter Wing and the 916th Air Refueling Wing), and the remnants of Pope AFB (now Pope Field) out of which operates the 43d Airlift Group, 18th Air Support Operations Group, 21st Special Tactics Squadron, and parts of the 440th Airlift Wing.

The book at the foot of the chair is a directory of Civil War battlefields, which represents our part in the American Civil War.  NC provided 133,905 troops to the Southern cause – roughly one-sixth of the Confederate army – of which 40,000 died due to combat or disease.  Our part in the Civil War also gave us our nickname, the “Tar Heel” state, due the the fact that troops from NC  “stuck to their ranks like they had tar on their heels.”  NC also provided the North with 8,000 soldiers as well, of which 5,035 were escaped slaves.  Famous NC generals of the Civil War includes Bragg, Hill, and Grimes.

The boots represent our horse farms, of which we have plenty.  I’ve visited only one – a Tennessee Walking horse farm outside of Charlotte – but know that there are many others.  We are also home to a great number of riding schools and stables.  The boots are Ariat English riding boots – some of the finest in the world.

Behind me is the flag of North Carolina.  It was designed by William Jarl Browne and was officially adopted by the state on June 22, 1861.  The two dates surrounding the star represent the two most important in our history –  May 20, 1775, representing the “Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, ” and May 20, 1861, representing the date of North Carolina’s secession from the union.

In front of the flag is NC’s own Nikki Tanikawa.  I’m sporting a camouflage mini to represent our love for hunting and fishing (as we all know that fish can’t see you if you are wearing camouflage!).  The sandals are suppose to represent the beach, but I doubt many people go wading in 5″ heels.  The most important part of my ensemble is the pig – for our famous BBQ!  Though I love all barbeque, I am partial to the eastern NC style with which I grew up.  The best places for eastern NC BBQ are B’s BBQ in Greenville, the Villiage Diner in Hillsborogh, and Knightdale Seafood and BBQ in Knightdale – just my opinion.  If you wish to recommend your own list of favorite BBQ restaurants I’d love to hear from you!!!

On my left is a tobacco leaf, laminated and framed by a famous tobacco company in Farmville.  The tobacco industry began back in 1663 – largely due to the fact that settlers found it difficult to cultivate any other crops in NC’s dry, sandy soil.  It remains the state’s primary (legal) cash crop (14%) and ranks number 1 in the US for tobacco production.  One famous name in the tobacco industry is James B. Duke of Durham, whom founded the American Tobacco Company and assisted in the creation of Duke University in 1887 through the Duke Endowment.

The walking stick represents the Appalachian Trail, which cuts through 318 miles of rugged mountainous terrain in western NC.  It is both beautiful and wild – one of the few remaining areas where you can view life as it was before civilization changed everything.  If you are up to the challenge I seriously recommend that at some point in your life you grab a backpack and hike the trail just to be part of nature and forget about your laptop, cell phone, and florescent lights.  I will not be joining you, however, because I am physically lazy.  I’ll wait for you on the other side at the McDonald’s!

The Green Beret, which you saw in my Memorial Day tribute, represents Ft. Bragg located in Fayetteville.  Originally activated in June of 1942, the fort celebrates its official birthday of August 25, 1944 when the XVIII Airborne Corps assumed command of the 82d and 101st Airborne Divisions.  In May of 1952, Ft. Bragg also became home of the US Army Special Operations Command, also known as the “Green Berets,” and the 7th Special Forces Group.

The wine bottle represents our state’s growing wine industry.  We have over 100 wineries producing both the European vinifera and the local muscadine – also known as Suppernong – grapes (which happens to be our state fruit).  The bottle is from the Duplin winery, which is just outside of Rose Hill, and was founded in 1974.  It produces a wide variety of muscadine wines – all of which are exceptionally flavorful.  A lot of people don’t realize that NC’s history with wineries was introduced by Sir Walter Raleigh in the late 1500’s, and by the 20th century NC was the leading wine-producing region in the United States.

The connection between wine and Sir Walter Raleigh leads nicely to the famous “Lost Colony” of Roanoke Island.  In 1587, Sir Raleigh attempted to colonize the area which is now coastal NC by leaving a group of settlers on Roanoke Island in the Outer Banks.  Due to the engagement between the English and the Spanish Armada of 1588, Sir Raleigh was unable to return to Roanoke until 3 years later.  All he found was crudely-written carvings on trees with the words, “Croatoan,”  and, “Cro.”  To this day, no one knows that happened to the colonists.

The shotgun is my personal protection weapon – a Winchester Defender riot shotgun loaded with alternating 3″ magnum 000 buck and sabot slugs.  If I don’t kill an intruder with one, I’ll make sure he doesn’t get away by blowing a hole in his engine block with the other!  Us North Carolinians are well-known for our hunting and love of guns.  Although I am not a hunter (I love all life) I do love guns.  I am a huge supporter of the Second Amendment.  Not to argue a sensitive issue, but how many criminals buy their weapons from a store?  Taking away our right to bear arms keeps us from protecting ourselves from those who mean us harm.  Additionally, I want to be sure that we keep the English at bay should they decide to invade again!

The laptop represents our technology industry.  The Research Triangle Park – located between Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill – is home to many leading producers of computer and computer-related products.  Mine, however, was produced in Japan.

Finally, the little stuffed eagle represents the Central Intelligence Agency, which maintains a presence in NC.  Though they have had some down times, the CIA has kept our country safe and secure since September 18, 1947.  Keep up the good work!  The eagle also represents the NC state zoo in Asheboro.  It is a huge complex  and is home to approximately 1,100 individual specimens representing more than 200 species.  It is very much worth the visit.  After watching the poor animals wither away and die at the Moscow zoo in Russia due to a lack of funds, I became a huge supporter of maintaining zoos to keep the animals both happy and healthy.  I never want to witness anything like I did in Moscow ever again.  Help me keep our zoos alive and well so that our children can enjoy viewing animals living happily among us instead of just on the internet.  Remember – zoos are not just for public viewing, they also help injured animals and keep nearly extinct species from vanishing from the planet forever.

Not pictured is anything representing the Navy, which operates its Military Sealift Command out of both Morehead City and Wilmington.  I didn’t forget about you, brave men and women – I just didn’t have a ship handy!

Oh, one last thing – did you know that NC was the site of the first gold rush?  It began in 1799 when twelve-year-old Conrad Reed was fishing in Little Meadow Creek in Cabarrus County when he found a seventeen-pound gold nugget.  I learned about that little-known fact from one of my favorite TV shows – “How the States Got Their Shapes” on the History Channel (on every Tuesday night at 10pm).

Well, I hope you enjoyed my little blurb about my home state.  I am a North Carolina girl through-and-through and always will be!  If you find anything which needs correcting or wish to add something please let me know!

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. kw1970  |  July 12, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    Awesome blog here Nikki ! Also due to the fact I Love History as well 🙂 By the way,, AWESOME picture of you my dear :O

    • 2. sexyknees  |  July 13, 2011 at 3:01 am

      Thank you very much for the compliment, kw1970! I am happy to share my knowledge of my home state with anyone willing to learn!

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