February 6, 2011 and Superbowl XLV found us in Douglasville, GA, a small town west of Atlanta. We were boondocking in truck stops, Walmarts and other locations as the job had Bill moving to different cities frequently and there aren’t many campgrounds in the greater Atlanta area. We decided to watch the game at the local Buffalo Wild Wings. Upon arrival, there were two camps….one side die hard Pittsburgh Steelers fans and one side real and wannabee Cheeseheads. During the course of the game there was the usual trash talk, some of it rather heated. I thought that if I heard one more round of “Way to go Steelers, way to go” I was going to lose it! But in the end, when the Packers emerged victorious, those same fans that had been so abrasive during the game came over to congratulate us and shake our hands. Totally a class act.
As fulltimer RVers on the road, we have to get used to being the “foreigner” and to respect the habits and traditions of other areas. With an open mind, we can even learn to appreciate and even love parts of these different habits and traditions. Granted it may not be bratwurst, beer and Friday night fish frys but there is much to be said for Zydeco music played in a bar on Bourbon Street, watching the sun set over the Pacific in Malibu, black painted barns and fences in Kentucky or ATVing in the Uinta National Forest of Utah. By traveling as RVers we have learned better to not be so quick to judge and to have an open mind.
How do these two seemingly unrelated stories tie together? The current political landscape of our country in these difficult and unpredictable times has seen so much hate and intolerance spewed from both sides that it is difficult to even fathom an environment of collaboration and mutual give and take. Both sides have been armed camps trash talking “the other team” like fans during the Super Bowl instead of citizens of the same country that have equal rights to their beliefs and opinions. Although we may be Packer fans or Steelers fans, Yankees or Southerners, Liberal or Conservative, FIRST AND FOREMOST we are all AMERICANS. We should respect our differences and celebrate our similarities. Like RVers traveling in a different state, we need to be respectful of each other’s lifestyles and opinions even if they are not the same as our own or we don’t necessarily agree with them.
When I wake up on November 7 and if my “team” has not won, I hope to have as much class as those Steelers fans in that Georgia bar back in February 2011. I plan to shake the other guys’ hands, congratulate them and then go out and do my damnedest to work with them to make this country the best it can be – no matter what team they are on.