Pride is an interesting trait. It can be both a positive trait and a negative one; both edifying and destructive. It seems to me, at least as I listen to the news lately that there’s a tremendous amount of LOUD pride. It gets tiring hearing everyone clamoring about how great they are; whether it’s on a TV commercial, coming from a politician, some social group, etc. I’m a quiet guy most of the time. I tend to think that a person’s traits are self-evident and those who spend the most time telling you about how wonderful they are are usually the ones who least deserve to make their claims. Maybe I’m just one contrary son-of-a-gun.
Before we went mobile we lived in a neighborhood South of Milwaukee called Cudahy. If you have ever eaten Patrick Cudahy bacon you’ve eaten the product that sustained our city for many years (It’s been sold now to the Smithfield Ham people, in recent years).
We lived on a secondary street, three blocks from the hospital and next door to the elementary school. In fact our ‘house’ had BEEN the elementary school in its earlier life. We lived there for the better part of 7 years. And all the while we were there I was very conscious of the fact that there were very few neighbors who flew the flag. So, I guess it’s not surprising that since RV’ing I have been noticing just how many RV’ers do fly the flag.
It’s not quite as easy to display the flag when you’re an RV’er. Every time you move you have to set it up again, not just the flag but your flagpole as well. And every time you move you have to take it down again. There are inexpensive ways of displaying it — meaning your flagpole — and then there are some that aren’t quite so inexpensive. It’s easy to drop between $100 and $300 for an RV friendly flag pole. They mount under your tire for solidity, they mount to your rear roof ladder for height. They come in a variety of forms.
While at the Oregon Dunes volunteering I was particularly struck by the number of displayed flags — but not always in a positive way. And not always our national flag. There a good share of POW/MIA flags — I can see that. There were also more Confederate flags on display — something I have a hard time understanding.
It’s nice to see people proud of their country. Not in any ostentatious way; but simply flying the flag to say, “This is my country and I’m proud of it.” For all of our problems, I have been in places where travelers are met by periodic armed patrols with machine guns and sober faces. You don’t have to go through many of those ( at least not if you’re paying attention ) to realize how good we have it here. But that’s another blog for another day.
Patriotism is pretty common in the campgrounds we seem to visit. The folks aren’t boisterous about it. They have their flags. Some of them have their military hats, a few T-Shirts & Jackets — identifying where they served: Vietnam, Korea, some Naval ship, etc. I can understand that. And appreciate it.
We put our flag out on holidays, but I guess that if I’m honest I love my country but I haven’t been proud of it lately. As a pacifist I really do think we’ve stuck our collective nose in places it may not have belonged in the name of keeping the peace while thinly veiling our corporate greed. We have created a military machine state — if we weren’t at war the un-needed soldiers combined with the wind-down of military hardware manufacturing would throw us into a serious depression. We need to be at war in order to keep workers working and the economy humming. I’m not sour about this — it’s simply a fact of life.
RV’ing doesn’t keep you from showing who you really are
My reason for this post is to emphasize that contrary to the view of some folks who think that RV’ing is going to result in their living a ‘smaller life’ — no longer being able to show their unique individuality — RV’ing is probably the best way in the world to show who you are. You not only get to do it, you have to repeat that determination to show who you are every time you move.
In a sense RV’ing is a test of how much certain things really mean to you.
- ARE YOU sufficiently patriotic to show that pride each and every time you move?
- Do you really want people to know who you are — putting out your name plaque every time you move?
- Do the things that are important to you stay the same?
- Do you REALLY care about them, or has caring become a habit? Perhaps a habit you tire of and let fall by the way.
I think it’s something people don’t think about — this constant test of what is really important to you. Perhaps it’s equally a test of whether you’re really proud of something, or is it just your ego that wants people to stop, take note of you, and think something about you because of what they see?
As a quiet guy I don’t think my ego is right out there on my sleeve. Oh, I HAVE one, no doubt about it. But most of the time I don’t need to prove myself to other people. In every campground and RV park we go to I see that I’m a bit unusual in that regard. There are always more than enough people around who need you to notice them. That’s Ok. Not only is there no right way to RV, there’s no singular right way to live and there’s room for all sorts — as long as I get to be myself I have no problem letting others be themselves.
And I am still impressed by the people with quiet pride who just put up their flag wherever they go. That speaks to who they are. I like that. I love the diversity that we enjoy in this country.
Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll talk with you tomorrow.