Wednesday, September 7, 2011
We Are Upstate Americans (A T-Shirt, then My 2 Cents on the Storm)
Recently, you may have noticed that I have been using the term "Upstate American" to describe the inhabitants of our wonderful homeland. I can't claim responsibility for coining this term, I originally came across it on the Times Union's CapCon blog and promptly co-opted it for my own uses. Anyhow, some friends of mine have taken the concept of Upstate America and ran with it and created a downright schnazzy logo (above). Should you want to broadcast your (very deserving) Upstate pride, you can purchase a shirt at this link. **Edit** I originally forgot to mention that the proceeds from this T-Shirt venture will go to aid in the recovery effort here in the affected counties, probably should have mentioned that. Ahem, ahem...**Edit**
In any event, this concept is much wittier than my "Capital Region: We Have 3" Wieners" t-shirt idea that I floated down the river a few months ago.
On a more serious note, I won't get into too many details here, (maybe I will post about it some other time) but I think it is a great time to inculcate some regional pride in Upstate New York. For reasons related to my professional life over the course of the last week or two, I have had cause to be present in some areas that were affected by Hurricane Irene.
From Sunday night during the height of the storm, through the following days of reckoning and recovery I was present to observe everything I admire about my fellow Upstate Americans- from the stiff-upper-lippedness and grim self reliance, to the genuine compassion and caring for one's neighbor in the face of devastation (I use the word without hyperbole).
To bring everything around to food (as I am wont to do), it would have warmed your heart last Monday afternoon, to view in the immediate aftermath of the storm, the parade of fine country ladies heading to the local firehouses with potholders and Corningware in hand to feed the fire folks, police, soldiers, and volunteers helping with the recovery. Simple dishes (stews, hot dogs on white bread, egg noodles) meant to fill bellies... To me this scene was a living picture that captured the soul of Upstate New York. In any event, I thought it was something to see.
I viewed the destruction wrought on our local farming communities and it left me with a heavy heart. Homes, farms, dairies, schools, businesses destroyed. My only solace was the relatively low (with tragic exceptions) loss of life. Arriving where I did, in the middle of a major State Route and seeing raging water as far as the eye could see with silos and barn roofs peeking out, I feared the worst. So my point is that we need to support our local farms and businesses now more than ever. Remove all the hipster cliche from the concept of buying local and see if you can work a way to keep your money in our communities to help with all of the recovery to come.
I know this is a large block of text to sift through, and many of you prob. would like a TLDR. But I have said my piece.
A Proud Upstate American