I was listening to one of my favorite songs the other day wondering how I could work it into a post.
Then it hit me.
The song would work quite nicely in a celebration of our 50 states. About what each state is famous for.
And since Rhode Island is famous for being the first of the 13 original colonies to declare independence, what better place to begin.
Measuring only 48 miles, east to west, 37 miles, north to south, its dimensions could never measure the size of its heart.
One has to look no further than its founder, Roger Williams, to see why. You might even say it was Providence he came along.
He was an early supporter of religious tolerance (“God is too large to be housed under one roof”). He demanded fair treatment for all those Americans who were here first, before it was fashionable.
(In fact his ideas were so shocking, most other American settlements shunned contact with the state.)
Well, what else is Rhode Island famous for? The smallest state has the longest official state name: The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. And the shortest slogan: hope.
We can also mention Rhode Island was famous for being the only state with the foresight to not ratify the Volstead Act, which established Prohibition in the United States.
Yes, “little Old Rhode Island,” is also famous for producing more silverware than anywhere else on earth and the birthplace of such disparate souls as Anthony Quinn, and George M. Cohan.
And speaking of songs, “Rhode Island is Famous for You.”
This ditty, written by Arthur Schwartz and Howard Dietz, that sent me off on this excursion, I would submit is the most charming song with a state in the title.
(And it’s mandatory listening, here, for the poll. There’s a small intro before the lyrics.)
At the risk of overstating things, this mighty little state was the first to fire against the Brits at Newport, (before Newport was Newport), kicked off the Industrial Revolution and has the world’s largest bug on the roof of New England Pest Control.
In short, it’s got it all.