One thing you frequently miss as a full time RV’er is family birthdays. This year we lucked out by being in town on the day of Michael’s birthday (our Son-in-law) and a fun time was had by all. Kathryn made Lasagna (a family favorite even though Michael’s lactose intolerant) and his parents were there so we had a chance to catch up with them — it was just a wonderful Sunday!
It’s interesting as we move about the country that not only do other nations do things differently, so do other parts of one’s own country. For example, it seems that “Sweetest Day” is more of a Midwestern thing than a national thing. Then there’s the role of family in family life… for sure when we have been in areas with strong Mexican-American populations we realized that “family” for them is a larger thing than “family” for my family. We did lots of things together but our family was always much smaller than a lot of the hispanic families we’ve known — and the numbers sitting around a table were huge compared to our small gathering. How great is that. There was a time when my grandparents had family gatherings and we’d number 17 or 18 — but now with smaller families the table is set for far fewer.
“A wise traveler never despises his own country.”
– Pamela Goldoni
I truly love this country. It truly is an amazing place. Not without problems, mind you, but an amazing place none the less. That the founding fathers conceived an idea to welcome the strays and castoffs from other nations is idealistic in the extreme and never ceases to amaze me.
What does amaze me is that the current residents of this country expect the nation to be something it never pretended to be. And so many seem surprised that after 200+ years the ideas espoused in out constitution have matured into something that no one ever imagined. That is the reality of life. You either grow and mature or you die. That is what happened to the great world powers before us; they all had their periods of ascendency, maturity and decline. We too are going through a life cycle. That’s not a ‘bad’ thing — it’s just life.
“Travel has a way of
stretching the mind.
The stretch comes not
from travel’s immediate rewards,
the inevitable myriad new sights,
smells and sounds,
but with experiencing firsthand
how others do differently
what we believed to be
the right and only way.”
– Ralph Crawshaw
In my ‘real life’ — i.e., not the online one — I have been known to be pretty outspoken about Capitalism. Capitalism has given us a lot of good over the past couple hundred years; but the natural and inevitable outworking of a Capitalist society are also seen to be doing a lot of harm — now, as our society has matured and the natural outworking of the wheels within wheels we have set in motion decades ago have their impact on society.
A lot of people seem to think that the way we have chosen to do things (as a nation) is the only way. But obviously that is not the case. Nations around the world do things very differently; a great many things, and a great deal differently. One thing travel does — even if you are only traveling in this one country — is to show you that there ARE different ways, for different people, for different climates, for different economies, for different ages, etc., etc., etc..
I have been thinking lately about marriage. In December we’ll be crossing over the end of 47 years together; in 2016 our Daughter will be celebrating her 25th year of marriage, and our Grand-daughter is, as of this moment, still not making wedding plans. Such different stages in life.
Over the past 4 years of our retirement Peg and I are hardly ever out of one another’s sight. By choice. That is what we waited a working-lifetime for — to be together; that is the way we like it. But because we are very close in age (2 years) we are going through very similar stages in life. Similar things ache, similar things get forgotten, our strengths aren’t quite as as strong and our weaknesses are gaining on us. There is no problem for us to understand each other; we are going through the same sort of things — even though there are differences.
Our nation isn’t in quite the same place. All of it’s citizens are not at similar stages in life; nor in culture; nor in economy. This country is having growing pains that may be unprecedented in it’s history — and in some ways perhaps, even in the world. There have been great powers before us, but at times in history when wealth wasn’t as rich and power wasn’t as strong. I have no idea how it will all work out and chances are the struggles will be going on a lot longer than Peg and I are around — even if we live out good long lives. These simply aren’t growing pains that will go away easily.
I wish more people could learn from their travels, instead of just traveling. Perhaps I’m still caught up in the aftermath of our visit to the Leopold center and I’m wishing that people could see where we stand on this puny little planet earth and realize that there are more important things going on than what some celebrity is doing, or whether someone unknowinly said something to insult them. I guess I want to think that this country should be behaving like adults instead of spoiled children — after all we’ve had a couple hundred years to mature. But…. we don’t, we aren’t, we haven’t, and we won’t.
So, instead, I’ll go back to being happy with my family. They know how to respect each other’s differences, they care about each other, and they are nice to be around.
Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll talk with you tomorrow.