Do you ever have an unexpectedly strong emotional reaction to something?
I sometimes get what I think of as my "America feeling." Usually when I get this feeling, it's so strong that I actually get teary.
It hits me at the oddest time. I often get it when I'm waiting in line to vote. I felt it when I got my daughter's emergency passport, and the officer was giving us our directions. (You can hear me tell the story on episode 31 of the podcast: "If you have an appointment, you're in line A, for 'appointment'; if not, you're in line B, for 'bad planning.'")
I felt it the other day. My sixteen-year-old daughter was playing music from her playlist, and of all things, it included the song "The Farmer and the Cowman" from the Rodgers and Hammerstein 1943 musical Oklahoma!
Yes, the song is dated, and it trades in cliches. Nevertheless, I love it, and the America feeling hit me hard.
The farmer and the cowman should be friends,
Oh, the farmer and the cowman should be friends.
One man likes to push a plough, the other likes to chase a cow,
But that's no reason why they cain't be friends.
Territory folks should stick together,
Territory folks should all be pals.
Cowboys dance with farmer's daughters,
Farmers dance with the ranchers' gals.
I'd like to teach you all a little sayin'
And learn the words by heart the way you should
I don't say I'm no better than anybody else,
But I'll be danged if I ain't jist as good!
This song gives me such a strong America feelings -- I tear up every time I hear it. Which makes me feel a little ridiculous, but there it is.
Because yes it's true: Territory folks should stick together, and I don't say I'm no better than anybody else, but I'll be danged if I ain't jist as good.
In my experience, moments of transcendence -- so precious for happiness -- don't always hit me the way I'd expect.