Yesterday was the Memorial Day service in the town I grew up in. The 4 of us went. I think I mainly go because that was always so important to my Grandpa. Not that I don’t appreciate the sacrifices made, but, I could go to the one in the town we live in. The whole thing bores the kids, and Aussie isn’t even American, so, the American soldiers didn’t die for his freedom. But, they come with me anyway, because it is important to me, because it was important to Grandpa.
One of the speeches involved numbers. Stats. The guy stood up and said “It’s been said 10% of the people do 90% of the work. 27% of the people in this county have any college degree. 10% of the people pay 60% of the taxes.” He eventually got around the percentage of people who were in the military, and the percentage of people who died serving.
I was stuck by that…only about a quarter of the county has even an Associates Degree? I’ve placed such a high value on education, but almost 75% of the people I grew up around don’t? I mean, I’ve seen it in a lot of people, but, I didn’t realize it was that many. I suppose now would be a good time to mention that I graduated a couple weeks ago. I have a degree in criminal justice.
It was just one more reason to feel like I’m out of place. I know college has been blamed for my liberal attitude. Which again, makes me weird. Mom asked Aussie about the service, asked him if Australia does this sort of thing, like, be proud and say “God bless Australia” of course she was shocked to find they don’t say that there. “What? You all don’t want God to bless Australia?”
On the drive home, Aussie began to talk about how he feels like he doesn’t belong. He wasn’t in Australia long enough to really feel Australian, but, he does have some national pride, and he doesn’t feel American, he is not American. He doesn’t think he’d belong if he went home either. Not that it is an option at this point, but we were talking.
Between the two of us, we have three (soon to be 4) degrees, in an area where only a quarter of the population have even one degree. I only have two kids. Aussie technically doesn’t have any, which is just weird. I’m a liberal in the middle of ultra-conservative farm country. He’s not American. He’s kind of maybe 7th Day Adventist, I’m not. We don’t go to church, because we can’t find one. We went to my parents church for about 6 weeks. Not one person ever spoke to us. On Sunday mornings I listen to the top 40 countdown and he sleeps in. I homeschool the kids, but not for religious reasons. I’m a stay at home mom, which isn’t completely uncommon, but, if I really wanted to fit in, I’d get 15 hours a week at Walmart or a fast food place so that I could “get a break” and “some alone time” away from my family. I’m trying to figure out how to cut some of the many variations of corn out of our diets, surrounded by acres and acres of corn fields.
I know there is no “perfect” place. But, finding some place where we didn’t feel like the ONLY “weird” ones. Where the differences were accepted rather than ridiculed would be nice. Here…if you aren’t just like everyone else, then you are obviously a snob, because you think you are too good to be like them, and you are disliked.