Sunday, June 8, 2008

American Heritage

A thought that has been crossing through my mind lately has been heritage. Our personal and cultural heritage that we sort of pride ourselves on. Personally, my extensive cultural heritage comes from Europe, mainly...specifically Irish, Scottish, Welsh, German, etc. The funny thing is that my ancestors have been here for somewhere near 150+ years and counting. While I feel a rather strong connection through music, foods and genetics (who I look like), I also find myself not completely owning my Americanism. Now, before all else, I am a Christian, regardless of race or location, but what is my American heritage? Let's see, my grandmother moved out to CA in the 1920's from Ohio when she was very small. My grandmother in the other side has a grandfather who fought in the Minnesota Cavalry in the Civil War. Seems like everyone's eventual location was the good ol' west, my dad was born in Oregon and my mom in Southern California...
Now, on to my next sparse thought. I was noticing the other day that one of the things that sets us apart from other countries, besides hot dogs and hamburgers, is the south and that lifestyle. It is definitely a mix of things and began far sooner than a lot of parts of the US, but there is something so unique about it. The bluegrass and country music, hushpuppies and sweet tea, river boats and swamp creatures. There is really a lot there. The simple people of these areas seem to embrace and embody America more than any other part of our great nation. Sure there are lots of places that remind us of how we got to where we are, but none that seem to live and breath it so readily. It is sort of funny to me that they are the picture of America (to me) and yet, they were the Confederates who lost, at least a good portion of them. I am not saying that everything that is being, or ever has been, done is right or okay, but having visited there a couple years ago it leaves a mark. I really miss it sometimes, things were slower and simpler, even quieter. It was picture perfect, just like in the stories.
I guess there is not much to my reasoning for this post, just piecings of thoughts that have been traipsing through my brain. Hmmm, having visited the south, I suppose it has stirred me, has given me a new perspective of where I come from and who I am. I guess that is it, I just hope to visit more places that help me to feel connected to my American heritage. Jay has always said, "There are so many great places here in the states to visit, why would we ever NEED to go anywhere else?" (want aside) I must say, I agree. =)


Marfa said...

Uh huh....that sweet tea is special! And bluegrass music is sweet to my ears....we actually found a BANJO at a flea market a few weeks ago (shoulda brought my camera) for $159, that thing was BEAU-tiful (I thought the tag said $59), so I asked to try it a bit...too bad I don't know how to play, I love to listen and want to learn.