A few weeks ago, I was driving back from seeing my daughter sing at a state competition. She has one of the most beautiful voices, and she has won almost every singing competition she has entered. She even sang for the Queen at the Oklahoma Renaissance Faire.
But I'm getting off the subject. On the way back I decided to stop at a Wal-Mart in, of all places, Okmulgee, Oklahoma—a little spit of a town here in Okieland. Oklahoma is full of these small towns whose big claim to fame is that they have a "Super" Wal-Mart.
It's not that this upsets me but it makes me laugh. I came down here from Detroit, a city with a population of two million people as opposed to a whole state of that same population.
You measure distance by how long it takes to get somewhere, not by milage. Getting directions from someone is not, "Right at Main Street, left at Cleveland, etc."
It's more like, "Go down here about a mile and a half and turn left at the first dirt road, and pull into the driveway of the third house. That's my cousin's place and he'll tell you how to get to where you want to be."
Anyway, you get the idea. Lovely people but very backwoods. They're friendly to the 10th degree, and can teach you anything about milking cows.
So there I am at Wal-Mart in...Okmulgee, Okieland. I search the store, buy my stuff, and I'm heading back to my car in the parking lot. I guess I either forgot what I was wearing, or just wasn't really thinking about it, but the most amazing thing happened next.
As I am heading to my car, an old junker of a vehicle passes by me in the parking lot searching for a spot and I hear, "GO RED WINGS!!!!!!!!!"
Being from Hockeytown, I just didn't think about where I was or what I was doing, but my automatic reaction was to yell back, "GO WINGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
Then it hit me like a ton of bricks. I am in Okmulgee, Oklahoma and some guy, whom I have never seen before, in an old beater car is yelling, "GO RED WINGS!!!" at me.
To fans of the Wings, it's like, say, "Eh, How we doin'?" or "Eh, How's it goin'?" or "Eh, how's it shakin'?" or "Eh, How's it hangin'?" That's how we greet someone in Detroit and we always drop that last "g". We get that from being north of Canada. It's our native tongue.
So then I began to think, which can be pretty dangerous for me. I began thinking, "Are there Detroit Red Wing fans everywhere?" I do know that the economy in Michigan is not the greatest, and many people have left to seek their fortunes elsewhere. I guess Okieland was one of those places.
In the 70s, many people moved here from Pennsylvania, which I found out because the Pittsburgh Steelers have a real big following in Oklahoma. Also, for some reason, the Oakland Raiders have a big following around the country.
So I started watching the stands at different sporting events, and did you know that at every game or race that I have watched, there are Red Wing jerseys scattered throughout the stands? It has become one of the most popular jerseys in America, and around the world.
These fans can love NASCAR, horse racing, soccer, baseball, or wrestling, but they will always show off their Red Wings and they will do it proudly as if to say, "I belong to that exclusive club from Hockeytown."
So the next time you are in Reed City, Michigan or Ofuskee, Oklahoma and someone yells, "GO WINGS!!!" they are really saying "What's happening in your life?"
Just be polite and respond with, "GO WINGS!" and they will know that life for you is just "peachie grand."