Is it me, or does it seem that loyalty has lost its luster over the years?
I recently suffered a minor heart attack when I opened my parents’ refrigerator to find a bottle of Hunt’s Ketchup resting comfortably on the shelf. I did a double take, pulled it off the shelf, waved it around and yelled to my mother, “WHAT is THIS?”
“It was buy one get one free,” my mom replied. “I couldn’t resist.”
“Have you lost your mind woman? Have you forgotten where you are from? What’s next? Rooting for the Cleveland Browns this season?” I demanded to know, as my stomach turned at the very thought of brown and orange.
You see, I was born in, and my family hails from, Pittsburgh. (Go Steelers!!)
The Iron City. Steel Town. City of Bridges. And most importantly to this tale, the original home of Heinz and all its tastiness.
Clearly my mother must have made a mistake, or wasn’t wearing her glasses during her latest grocery romp. I mean, I remember taking school field trips to the Heinz factory as a kid, getting my mini Heinz ketchup bottle pin, my Heinz pickle pin, and wearing them with pride. Never had I even heard of another brand of ketchupy goodness other than Heinz until we moved to Florida years later when I was about ten years old.
Appauled and equally disappointed by my mother’s claim to thriftiness, I couldn’t help but think about the level of loyalty people are lacking towards things these days. This isn’t just about ketchup, although I will admit when my mom left for vacation the next day, those two bottles of Hunt’s somehow made their way OUT of the house. Funny how things happen.
I wondered how could something like this bother me so much? Was I nuts? Neurotic? Or was I just one of the few people left who believes very strongly in staying loyal to certain brands, teams, etc., for certain personal reasons?
I mean, after recently experiencing yet another season of bandwagon fan debauchery living in Orlando…I was fed up. As our Orlando Magic pressed forward to the Finals, the town cheered! When they lost a game, it was a ghost town filled only with smack talk and criticism. The flip flopping was so annoying. Pick a side and stick with it people!
Like when football season begins, I cheer to the very end for my Steelers…no matter how painful or victorious the season may turn. Yet people always scoff, questioning why not Tampa Bay Bucs or Miami Dolphins…afterall I do live in Florida. Maybe it’s the Italian half of my bloodline and that whole Mafia thing that keeps my mind on the one way train to Loyalty Land.
I’m a firm believer in that whole “you can take a kid out of his home, but you can’t take the home out of a kid.” The best example of this was over the weekend, as my brother and his family, who had recently moved from New York to Nashville, were in town visiting. As my nephew was asked where he was from, he firmly and proudly exclaimed, “New York”.
So I say no thanks. No thanks to bandwagon fans. No thanks to lack of loyalty. And most importantly, no thanks to Hunt’s.
I don’t need some buy one get one free football team or ketchup bottle. My heart originated and developed in The City of Steel and will remain faithful, dedicated and supportive of the things, no matter how small, that have contributed the core of my roots…and my home.