Monday, February 16, 2009

One Day There Was a German Man Who Wore a Turban All the TIme

Sure, I could envision Hitler in a turban – perhaps his moustache would need to be wider and thicker. A little Polka music to charm the snake out of the basket. Bratwurst on pita bread. Curried sauerkraut. And, for dessert, German chocolate cake washed down with Chai tea.

America is all about the melting pot, mixing cultures, varied cuisines. But, we do have SOME distinctly American traditions. We even have regional cultures as do many other countries. So, just as our children should learn that the turban might be worn in India, and the Alpine hat would adorn the head of a German gentleman, they should also know that the cowboy hat, created by John B. Stetson, is an American tradition.

Other things American include cowboys, blue jeans (especially Levi’s and Wranglers), sweet iced tea, Major League Baseball, and the NFL. We have our own holidays such as Thanksgiving and Presidents’ Day. We have what is known as parlor songs, such as “I Dream of Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair” and “Home Sweet Home”. Country music and hip-hip started here.

It’s okay to say ya’ll or youse guys. It’s fine to eat chittlins or clam chowder. One day, in the 1980s, I was visiting New York City for the first and only time so far. My husband and I had just one day to experience all we could, so we climbed the Statue of Liberty, went up the Empire State Building, saw a tiny portion of Central Park, rode the subway, and got a hotdog from a street vendor. That is where I got a dose of regional differences. The purveyor of the hotdog snickered and poked fun at me when I asked for mayonnaise on said hotdog. I didn’t know that only people in the south, and probably few of those, used mayo in this way. But, you can go almost anywhere in the USA and find a hamburger – and you can Have It Your Way!

I’m glad I’m an American from the south. I’m glad I’ve got friends who aren’t. And, as John Howard Payne penned:

Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam,
Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home

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