Almost every time I have to give my address to someone living outside of North Carolina, it happens.
I say the street address, then get to the town and say: “Denver ...”
And before I finish, the person on the other end of the conversation brightens and says, “Denver, Colorado?! Oh, it’s beautiful there! Once I flew in to go skiing and you won’t believe how much snow ...”
No, I interrupt. Denver, North Carolina.
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“That’s a real place?” the person says doubtfully.
Yes, it is. I have lived in Denver, N.C., for nearly 20 years. It is a friendly rural community that is 1,550 miles away from the home of the Denver Broncos, who play Carolina in Super Bowl 50.
We call our Denver the “Denver of the East,” and it’s about 25 miles northwest of uptown Charlotte. Much to my children’s chagrin, it only snows about 1-2 times a year in our Denver.
Denver, N.C., is on the west side of Lake Norman and still fairly undeveloped, which is a good thing. For instance, it was big news when we got a Dunkin Donuts a couple of years ago on Highway 16.
We’re a small town. Lots of trucks. Lots of people you know in Wal-Mart. Lots of people who call you “honey” and mean it.
Church “camp meetings” are big in the summer. The Fourth of July fireworks show at East Lincoln high school is a crowd-pleaser. “Denver Days” – sort of a county fair with rides and music – is a highlight every fall.
My family lives way out in the country in Denver. We don’t have any mountains to speak of and our elevation is about 4,000 feet lower than the Mile High City. But we do see deer, foxes, wild turkeys and the occasional white squirrel on our property – take that, Denver, CO!
This Denver, N.C., is all about the Panthers. Our Denver, N.C., firefighters have a bet with some Denver, Colo., firefighters – something about flying the flag of the opposing team on a fire truck, depending on which team wins.
My kids’ school has a dress code but relaxes it to encourage kids to wear Panthers gear every Friday. You will find a whole lot of Cam Newton and Luke Kuechly jerseys in Denver, N.C., and I’ve yet to see one Peyton Manning jersey.
Is Denver, Colo., a nice place? Absolutely. I’ve been there several times and enjoyed it.
But I like my Denver better.