Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Don't Mess with Kansas Pt. 3: Celebrate Good Times!

Once upon a time before the goddamn bastards whittled me down to a cranky nub, I was a wide-eyed, eager boy who possessed a jaunty demeanor. During this fabled age, I was overcome with giddiness the last week of January because we would break from the rigors of reading, writing, and arithmetic, and celebrate the birth of Kansas.

I'd immerse myself in coloring the state seal (To this day, I still consider the best in the Union) and my imagination would sweep me away. I'd soon find myself manning the plow underneath that glorious sunset.

Later in the week we would color meadowlarks, sunflowers, cottonwood trees, and jayhawks.

I miss those days. We stopped celebrating Kansas Day around 5th grade. I don't know why we stopped.

Last week I was talking to a fella who grew up in Texas, and he recalled his elementary days celebrating the Lone Star State's birthday. He remembered: learning about the Alamo, coloring a picture of a Bowie knife, a longhorn shitting on the playground during a school assembly, and being indoctrinated with he belief that Texas was on the right side of the cause during the Civil War. His face lit up as he recalled these stories.

I thought: This is the stuff that matters, but I don't get to enjoy the stuff that matters because I'm engaged in the general bullshit of living.

I'm too busy doing shit like supporting capitalism, rubbing elbows with people who don't read poetry, and fertilizing my lawn with chemicals that will eventually drain to the Gulf of Mexico and contribute to the dead zone. Combine all of this with watching others making a general clusterfuck of things, it's no wonder I walk around with a scowl.

Before I started these posts on Kansas, I didn't like this blog and found it a general waste of time. Now I'm ready to admit that muddywaters has the right idea. Maybe this blog will help me remember what really matters in this life, and maybe I can get to the joy of actually living a life that matters.

Tonight I'm breaking out the Crayola box.

As a child, how did you celebrate your state's birthday?

Celebrate good times. Come on!!!
Mr. Crankypants


Marianne said...

I don't think we celebrated state history back in the 60's or I'm too old to remember ~ BUT I did get to celebrate Kansas history when my boys were in elementary school ~ I always made buffalo stew for their classes....everyone loved it. Yay for Kansas!

Jenni said...

We moved around a lot, and I really don't remember celebrating any state birthdays. My mom's family is from Texas, and I was born there and probably spent more time living there than any other state. I do remember taking Texas History in 7th grade. That book was bigger than any other textbook I had from K-12. I've been to the Alamo a few times, and I have to admit I still get choked up being there.

Anonymous said...

Never lived anywhere longer than 2 years, so state heritage is a big blur to me. There are some advantages to being a nomad, but getting to know your roots and having a sense of place are not on the list.

We lived in Texas twice, and Texas history was a big deal, regardless of grade or age. Still remember huisache, paloverde, and mesquite ... three trees of some significance, although not the official state tree.

In Alaska, the kids have to memorize all of the state roads. Not that hard ... there are only six.

Not that big a deal on the east coast, or at least on the northern shoreboard. (Is "shoreboard" a word? should be.) Maybe because they see state history and national history as one and the same, birth of the nation and all. In some states, you'll see a list of famous people born there, and it's mostly entertainers and whatnot. When your list of native sons starts with George Washington, it's hard to get worked up about a panelist from Hollywood Squares.

Anonymous said...

The best obverse of a state seal goes to Maryland.


Knights in full armor ... so American.

Mr. Crankypants said...

Dear Anonymous,

Knights in full armor . . . so British.

The name Maryland, which is after a British Consorts . . . so British.

Anonymous said...

Cranky, You mean, Monty Python wasn't American? Or King Arthur? Gawl-derned public school education ...

Nella said...

I was raised in Nevada. I too have fond memories of learning about Nevada Day, which is October 31. The state still observes it as a holiday. I still break out into song when Nevada is mentioned:

"Home means Nevada, home means the hills, Home means the sage and the pine.
Out by the Truckee's silvery rills,
Out where sun always shines.......
Home means Nevada to me."

Kansas may be home on the range, but home means Nevada to me.

But alas, I have been a Midwest girl for 38 year, I love the Midwest!!!!! Thanks for asking. N