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Why Springfield?

Updated: Jun 23, 2022

Springfield Township, (Montgomery County) is primarily comprised of the villages Erdenheim, Wyndmoor, Flourtown, and Oreland. The population is around 20,000. And that’s about all that outsiders would be able to learn online about our township.

There are many un-extraordinary things about Springfield, yet all are exactly what you think of when you picture the quintessential small American town. There is practically nothing that would put this place on the map … and maybe that’s how we like it. We’re not fancy; Applebees is no less than five miles from here. The old saying “it’s not much, but it’s mine” applies to our quaint township.

All the same, we have everything that makes it the best place to raise a family, sub-par to nowhere. There are parades, little leagues, concerts in the park, history, great schools and so forth, but those certainly aren’t unique. Thousands of towns across the U.S. can say the same about themselves. So where to begin when extolling the unique virtues of a town without any at which to point?

Perhaps it is most authentic for me to write about the place most central to the heart and soul of Oreland which is where my first experience with the area was, ten years ago, on a first date.

There isn’t much to talk about in the way of food and beverage in Oreland. There are two pizza shops, a Chinese take out joint, and an ice cream parlor. Beyond that, you’re cooking at home. Unless …

There is one beacon of light, one sanctuary of relief, a gathering place for the weary, the communion at which produces a spirit lifted, a body comforted, a soul saved. It’s the rock upon which Oreland exists. It is not Holy Martyrs, the church nestled in the middle of this demure little town; it is the Oreland Inn.

The first time I met my wife, it was there. We were supposed to meet at a fancy bar halfway between my house and hers, but at the last minute, she asked me to meet her where she’s most comfortable.

Known to most as the OI, it’s a local bar that’s been around for over forty years. Changed little and improved less, the OI does not brag about itself. But oddly, it could. And it would be justified if it did so because it represents that which makes Oreland the best place to live in Springfield Township: the locals.

Frankly, as a place for a first date, I wasn’t impressed. It wasn’t because of the bar, itself, it was because everyone there seemed to know everyone there, except for me. My first date was, more or less, an interview with all of the thirsty locals, which felt exactly like “meeting the family.”

Yesterday was the anniversary of that first date, and I surprised Kara by taking here there. We sat on the porch and ate standard bar fare. The bartender, Christi, a local, after learning it was our anniversary, came out and congratulated us with a banner she’d made out of sandwich wrap paper and balloons. It precipitated a conversation with two Springfield Township garbage men, Brett and John Paul, also locals, sitting at a high top table several feet away. Turns out one of them knew me, but I didn’t know him. Now I know them both, and consider them friends.

The only difference between now and that day of destiny exactly ten years ago was that you can’t smoke inside anymore. There were fewer people there because it was a Wednesday, but there were still people there whom Kara knew, and whom I didn’t, but a few I did. And they’re still the locals. That’s all it ever is, and that’s all it will ever be.

The trash day after the evening at the OI, instead of it being thrown back to the curb without ceremony, my trash can was placed a little more carefully, lid on top, back at the end of my driveway. I hadn’t even bought the guy a beer. This is why Springfield.

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