Jul 302010

Well, I’m unexpectedly out of pocket.  Everything’s fine; I just expected to have reliable net access here, and I don’t.  I’m still writing, so look for several posts early next week.

Thank you for reading WmWms.

 Posted by at 8:40 am
Jul 272010

I was five years old on July 4, 1976.

The American Bicentennial was a very big deal.  My whole world turned red, white, and blue.  The stars and stripes were everywhere.  The United States of America was 200 years old, and you couldn’t be conscious and miss that fact.

That sounds like a long time—hell, the country just turned 234, for that matter—but it really isn’t.  Our culture is, in a global context, quite young.

I’ve never cared to have any sort of national identity except American.  I’m neither European-American, nor British-American, nor Caucasian-American, nor anything else but American.  It makes me really sad that so many want to qualify their national identities with hyphens (and, too often, out-and-out antipathy toward the American half of the expression).  I’ll go so far as to say I think it’s a mistake.

When you consider the breadth of our “meltees,” we’re really the only true melting pot there is.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I love that so many people from so many different places want to come here.  I love that they (legally) do.  I love that they add their cultural traditions when they do.

“How great to be American, and something else as well.”


I don’t have any illusions about how I think it should go when new Americans arrive.  Bring whatever you like with you, and continue to do it (within the bounds of the laws, which you’ll almost certainly find are more permissive than wherever you came from).  But in my view, you’re adding it to the grand American mosaic, not keeping it intact and separate.  It’s its own thing where you came from.  Here, it becomes American by definition.

I know that’s a controversial view, and I really hate that. I think it’s become so in my lifetime.  When did that happen?  When did we collectively start staring at the ground and mumbling “I’m an American,” rather than shouting it from the mountaintops?

 Posted by at 10:42 pm
Jul 252010

We’re home from back-to-back family reunions (Lea’s mother’s family, Lea’s mother’s mother’s family) in northern southern Indiana.  Essentially we hung out with warm, wonderful people and gorged on country cooking for two days.

I’ll tell you, I’ve never been a fan of sustained exposure to a very large city.  Generally I enjoy myself for about three days, and after that I can’t stand the noise and the crowds.  (If I ever rolled in cash and decided I could spare enough for a high-rise penthouse in a megalopolis, I’m certain I’d enjoy the quiet even more than the view.)

However, I took a long look around Washington, Indiana this weekend, and realized how badly I’d miss sushi, Thai, and Vietnamese food if I lived there.  So call me at least somewhat gustatorily urbanized.

Rural southern Indiana reminds me very much of rural northern Alabama.  You’ll see a barn or a tractor in every direction.  Folks are genuinely polite and unpretentious.  Church is important.  I think the biggest difference is the terrain.  Around here there are usually distant hills; up there you only see more corn, or even part of the next town.

The trip is right at 330 miles door to door, which is easy to pull off in 5 hours even with a quick meal stop, as all but about 50 of it is limited access highway of one kind or another.  We all stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night, but I’m not sure we’re any smarter.  It wasn’t quite as hot there, but I think it was a little more humid.  We did some geocaching, so we get to color Indiana on our map.

We had a good time, but there’s still that whole hitting-your-own-pillow thing that’s sounding awfully good tonight.

 Posted by at 8:59 pm
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