From The Storyteller
February 4, 2019 Sweet Tea
As a kid in Chicago my friends came in groups. There were groups from school, the neighborhood, scouting, church, sports, and of course family. With the exception of Ken, the guy I ran with, rarely did a person fit into more than one of these groups. It was like a Chinese buffet. Each group consisted of folks that were connected because they shared a particular interest. I never gave it any thought, until I got to Kansas.
In 1967 the Air Force sent me to Topeka, Kansas. At the time more people lived on the Southside of Chicago than in the whole State of Kansas, and each person I met there asked the same first question, “Where are you from?” When Chicago was mentioned, they would ask if I knew “So and so” who had lived there. It took some time for me to realize that, unlike the people I grew up with, these folks somehow felt connected to every person they encountered.
The Air Force had sent me to a different world. Examples: “Country folks” have their own personal rain gauge nailed to their fence, while “city folks” have the 10 p.m. news & weather. In a small town Dairy Queen, the locals wonder about how anyone can live with big city traffic, and in an urban Starbucks you hear folks wonder about why, in small towns, sweet tea is the default drink.
Over the years I’ve had the good fortune of being able to do both city and country. I’ve experienced firsthand the cultural differences, and that experience has taught me one marvelous truth. It doesn’t matter whether it was city or country, both have great, hardworking people, who can be counted on in times of need.
I’ve never been to China. I wonder if they drink sweet tea?
Moral: Great people live everywhere.