"We're Peanut Born and peanut Bred"
by Bridget McKneely, 2018 Suffolk Peanut Fest Queen
I believe we all have a symbol that represents our lives. Someone who is easy-going and “goes with the flow” may consider their symbol a wave. Another person who is fun, tall and super sweet could be a pineapple. For me, my symbol is a “peanut.” Although quite an odd symbol, it is the most appropriate for my life. In our little town of Suffolk, we are peanut born and peanut bred. I consider myself peanut born and bred because of my roots, the ability to stay grounded, and that I have learned to break out of my shell.
Peanuts grow underground, yet they flower above the ground, making them an unusual and unique plant. As for myself, I may just look like another dainty flower on the outside, but my real depth is beneath the surface. A peanut’s existence relies solely on its roots, and I feel the same. My roots are very important to me, because they keep me grounded and have taught me morals that I will always lean back on. My faith and morals have taught me to always work hard, always see the best in others, and always be respectful. Like a peanut, I try my best to stay humble and grounded, because if I do not, I will be pulled away from my roots.
The shells of peanuts give them their recognizable look, but we only care about what is inside the shell once it breaks open. I grew up in Chesapeake and then branched out to Suffolk for the beginning of my high school career. My little peanut –self was still in her shell, and I was quite shy going to a new school. When I started my first day in Suffolk, I was so pleasantly surprised! Everyone was so kind and had a sweet hint of southern hospitality to them- something I was familiar with and always appreciate when others have it too. It was at that time when I realized I needed to break out of my shell and I did! I gained so much confidence and became secure with myself, all because of my Suffolk Peanut people that made me feel proud of myself.
The more time I spent with my peanut people, the more I have “grown” to be like them, but have still kept my “roots” (pun intended). I have always been peanut bred because of my morals, even though I was not necessarily peanut born. People in Suffolk, Virginia, are truly a different breed, we have a genuine care for others and always find the positive in every situation. I am blessed to have become a peanut person, and I challenge everyone I meet to do the same – keep your roots, stay grounded, and do not be afraid to break out of your shell.