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I stood on Larkin Street and stared at Alcatraz. I walked down the winding road of Lombard. I climbed to the top of the Coit Tower. I rode cable car after cable car, and I admired the lovely Painted Ladies. I had oysters in Fisherman’s Wharf and indulged my palate with the sweetest chocolate from Ghiradelli. From China Town to Union Square, there’s no place like San Francisco.

But my home’s in Alabama, on the opposite side of the country, which is nice. I listen to crickets at night, not traffic. (Interesting fact: you can count the number of cricket chirps in fifteen seconds and add thirty-seven for an approximation of the outside temperature in degrees Fahrenheit.) I enjoy summer almost year round, and I’m only a hop, skip, and a jump away from the ocean. I can enjoy the beauty of a freshly plowed field and the smell of peanuts being pulled from the ground. That’s where I live after all–the Peanut Capital of the World.

Small statues of Peanut People stand guard at the local businesses. They’re smiling because that’s our charm: southern hospitality is a way of life. We have an annual Peanut Festival, which is a really large fair that gets its own parade. We crown the prettiest, smartest, and most talented girls: Miss & Little Miss Peanut. And boiled peanuts are sold everywhere–even from the trunks of cars by traveling salesmen.

Yes, the small town life has its advantages, but I love to visit the big city too.

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