Thursday, August 23, 2012

Culture vs Culture

Several years ago, I visited New York with my mother and two younger brothers. We saw a lot of the popular New York must-see places, and attended a Yankees/Red Sox baseball game. I went to the ball game somewhat grudgingly and even took a book to read during it. (I did not end up reading it, mostly because of threats from my brother not because I didn't want to!)

When I returned, a somewhat hoity-toity person asked me what I had seen while there. Several of the places he mentioned were not even on our radar. Really, the main point of the trip was the Yankees/Red Sox game for my brothers. I was simply tagging along.

Despite the fact I was (and still am) not a baseball fan, walking into that Yankee stadium was absolutely one of the most spectacular places I'd ever visited. It was the highlight of my New York trip. I don't know baseball rules, and I clearly didn't understand a lot of what was going on, but being in that full stadium, and being a part of something so "American" still stands out as one of the best experiences of my life. I came home from that trip and told Mike if and when we ever visit New York with our children, we will attend a baseball game there.

I tried explaining my Yankee Stadium experience to the hoity-toity person all those years ago, but he was too busy asking me why in the world we hadn't visited The Metropolitan Museum of Art. I gave up and instead made a insincere commitment to visit the museum the next time I returned to New York City.

Over the past few years, Mike and I have found ourselves "in circles" we never thought we would be in. Namely, rodeos, county fairs, and 4-H meetings. Of course thrown in are a few harp performances, and Temple Square organ opportunities. (Not to mention a personal favorite--monster truck shows!) It is all such a dichotomy. Hauling a goat somewhere in the morning and a harp somewhere that evening was not something we'd have ever imagined doing.

Last week, Mike and I sat among a pretty diverse group of people as Luke showed Lily at the county fair. With the exception of making a mental note to wear shoes and socks next year, (I think I made that same mental note last year, but forgot.) I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The next morning I took Luke up to the fairgrounds to feed Lily. The Steer Competitions were about to begin and the area was full of people brushing and washing their cows in preparation. As I walked through the stalls, with the sounds of cows all around, I suddenly recalled the conversation of The Metropolitan Museum of Art versus a baseball game at Yankee Stadium I had eight years ago.

They are both so full of culture, in their own way. I can't put into words the experience in the fairgrounds the other day, but I know it wasn't just my love of a good steak that was soaking up the "spirit" of the steer competitions.

The next night we attended a rodeo. As a cowboy riding a horse and holding the United States flag galloped around the arena to the sounds of a patriotic country song, there was no denying the feeling of love for one's country among the hundreds in attendance. Attending a rodeo is an experience in and of itself. One of my favorite events to attend. Luke and I were both bored last year when visiting the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. I felt uncultured and even guilty for feeling that way at the time and couldn't help but contrast it with the fact I thoroughly enjoyed watching cowboys fall from bucking broncos and bulls last week.

But then...

I thought again of the Museum of Art and Yankee Stadium conversation.

Really.
What does it mean to attend a "cultural" event? I know as a fact it isn't just my hoity-toity friend from 8 years ago that think symphonies, operas and art museums are far superior to rodeos, county fairs and baseball games. There is so much rich culture and experience everywhere. I'm glad for my exposure to a genre of life I never thought I'd experience.

Soccer Mom was obviously never in the cards for me.
I'm proud to be a Cowboy Mom.
(I know this isn't a great photo-but oh those little boys of mine holding their hats while they put their hands on their hearts was touching.)

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