Some areas of our country take different things seriously. For some areas in the south it would be music. For Florida it would most likely be their beaches and tourist attractions. We moved three years ago from California where it is very serious that nothing be taken seriously. Now we live in Wisconsin. We have learned about what is important around here.
Wisconsinites take their alcohol seriously. I mean seriously. No blenders needed or desired here. Did you see the news reports about the bars in Pasadena running out of some alcohol (I would guess brandy and whiskey) for the Badger fans in town for the Rose Bowl? That is not necessarily an honorable claim to fame, but it is very true. Farming and dairy are a serious business around here. Many a family live off of the industry. The current market prices for dairy and a discussion of them are news items on the radio here every hour. Farmers set up tables in grocery stores with that day's fresh cheese (and yes, it is extra delicious). But there is one entity that is more important to the people of Wisconsin than anything else. The Green Bay Packers.
It is completely normal for a family to wait generations to finally receive season tickets to the Packers. The games are always sold out. No matter how cold it is. About a year and a half ago Ryan and I were privileged to go to a game at Lambeau field by way of his employer. This was an experience we will never forget. The stadium is nearly plopped right in the middle of a neighborhood. The surrounding homes take great advantage of this and charge for parking on their lawns! It is nearly impossible to explain how amazed we were by the fanatic fans, the pristine parking lot where thousands had been and were tailgating, the camaraderie of the entire stadium. It is kind of like a wholesome high school football game on steroids. Even the cheerleaders are actually from local high schools (the schools rotate)!
Have you heard they are playing in the Super Bowl this weekend? If not, you obviously don't live around here. The blizzard that came through was talked about briefly on the news before we came to the 'real' news: the half hour "Super Bowl Report". And if the Packers weren't in the Super Bowl we wouldn't even hear about the big game.
Wisconsinites bleed green and gold through and through. It is not a part of their life. It is woven into their entire life. Everyone watches the games. There are TV's in grocery stores with the games on and the sound being broadcast on their loud speakers throughout the store. Restaurants and fast food places (yes, even McDonald's) are closing down early on Sunday. Movie theatres are closed (except for the one showing the big game, for free!). For good reason: there would be absolutely NO customers. And I mean empty. Never mind that their employees might quit in favor of watching the game.
Most employees of any service industry either own or are provided with Packers jerseys to wear on Sundays (and this entire past week, for that matter). I actually am wearing #50 as I write this which came from a restaurant where I worked in which I needed one for any Sunday evening I served. Ryan (a Broncos fan) was supposed to wear Packer gear to work yesterday or else pay the 25 cent fine which they impose on management for breaking the so called 'rules' (which includes profanity). Seeing as how I do not like contributing a quarter to the management 'after hours drinking fund' (does anyone else see the irony here?) I tried to find a way out of this fine. I finally realized we owned one of the famous cheeseheads (we were given it shortly after we moved here). Yes, he wore it yesterday to the amusement of many, but hey, we saved a quarter!
Packer flags are flying on nearly every home. Bell peppers are arranged into the Green and Gold logo in the produce departments. There were trucks with smashed bears on their front grills two weeks ago. And to top it all off people are painting the snow in their front yards green and gold with various slogans about the Pack.
So in honor of tomorrow we proudly say "Go Packers!".