I just got back from taking care of business with my future home in what I wish to call “Heaven County”. While I was down there I started thinking about the contrasts of this place and where I reside in No. Virginia. I will call them the dis-similarities and it is the difference between night and day with realtion to quality of life and personal well-being.

I came to this area back when I was starting junior high. I lived in a po-dunk town called Vienna and the limits of the town were definitive. There were 2 signs placed at each end of the town along Rt. 123 and when you left you know you had left. There was nothing around. The town consisted of a different breed of redneck. In the times we were called “greasers” of which I wasn’t one. I was still country folk. The mindset of the town was to change its image and break out of this mold. They wanted to be someone. They wanted to be on the map. We already had King Distributors (beer distributor) as well as the 2 local (and rowdy) saloons-Daniels and the Vienna Inn. When I arrived in this town “Westside Story”, and the emulation of, was in vogue by its youth. I did get caught up in that. All in all, it was a semi-peaceful (although ignorant) existance for the towns people but they wanted more.

The “breakout” occurred when Tysons Corner was developed. We all know how that turned out. Vienna is now on the map and try to find the demark point between Oakton and Tysons Corner. It just doesn’t exist. Many wish it never happened and many others, like myself, got out. After all, enough is enough!

I moved out to Loudoun County to a small upstart community called Sterling Park. We had a couple small towns nestled in the country and, per 60 Minutes television show, were 150 years BEHIND the times. Do you know how wonderful it is to be living that far in the past while it is present? I had found a new home to my liking.

Things went pretty well for some years. We had actual FORDS (the water kind) that were part of our road system. Farms and forest were all the eye could see. Plenty of hunting without worrying about hitting a passing car or sending a stray through someone’s house. And we had a Jack-in-the-Box. We were big time and our stuff didn’t stink. The only thing you had to worry about was running into the Pagans M.C. at a field party or stumble into a marijuana patch or speed lab. Other than that, life was slow and easy going. Then one day the Board of Stupidvisors said: “You know, Fairfax County and Montgomery County have all the best schools and buses and businesses and everyone knows who those counties are. We need to cut us a piece of this pie. I bet we can even surpass them and be better then they are”. So the stupidvisors all stood up in a row, clicked their heels 3 times in unison and chanted “we want to be somebody; we want to be somebody; we want to be somebody” and, seemingly overnight, they became somebody. Hey, no one said it wasn’t a cursed chant! This was done much to the dismay of those people that just liked things the way they were. So we gave up quality of life to “be somebody”.

Alot of what has happened can be contributed to being near a “big city” which, in our case, would be Washington D.C. Have you ever paid attention to the type of people that reside or want to reside in these cities? For the most part they are well-to-do, porkchop people (those that wouldn’t have anyone paying attention to them unless they tied a porkchop around their neck) or those that want to be where the “glitz” is. My personal take is that nothing good ever comes from the city and it is a hotbed of liberals wanting to change something. They are at the mercy of the city government (who basically run every aspect of their lives) and want to spread that misery to all others in all locations. No thank you.

My quest for my Holy Grail was on and some years back I found my soon-to-be new home. It is in southern Virginia and it has a big city right next to the county. “The City” (as I will refer to it) is like Leesburg only magnified 50 times. The houses are mostly old and quaint but with newer developements scattered about so that townhomes and apartments share the landscape. “Heaven County (as I will refer to it) is right next door and, not unlike what Loudoun used to be, has a county seat about the size of Leesburg but without any glitz or intense modernization. Why? Because that is the way they like it and want to keep it. Heaven is nothing more than farms and forests where you can raise livestock of your choosing (and there are no smells coming from the chicken or pig farms), farm crop of your liking or just live and enjoy bliss. Most all jobs are local (paper mill is the only big industry) and people work just to have a job. No one is getting rich and the county doesn’t promote that issue either. It is a live-and-let-live attitude without the trappings of The City, Yankees or do-it-my-way liberals. Yes, they do have a golf course on the edge of the county but it doesn’t get much play. Bingo, church socials or tractor pulls are the main events here.  Heaven County is well known for a couple reasons but, alas, I cannot tell you at this time without giving away its location and also to protect my anonymity. It doesn’t matter for the purpose of this comparison series.

Heaven has started to grow. It has an area just outside The City and just within Heaven County borders that is not unlike the beginning stages of Sterling Park. There are new schools, communities and businesses popping up in this area and not without notice of the county board. It appears that the trappings brought on by builders are starting show the “darkside” of growth and the citizenry, as well as the supervisors of Heaven County, are not happy with what they see. Looking to what has happened to other areas (yes, they looked at what has happened in Loudoun), they have decided that they don’t like what the future holds in this respect and have started initiatives to curtail the growth in order to keep Heaven County the “qualty-of-life” area the people want it to remain.

The next in this series will deal with how Heaven County keeps growth under wraps. You will see how once you start down a slippery slope, it is hard to stop before hitting bottom.