I live in a town that proudly waves their Dutch heritage high overhead. Phrases like, "If you ain't Dutch, you ain't much," and "Proud to be a tightwad Dutchman," regularly flutter in the breeze. The word "Dutch" seems to be used synonymously with frugality and thriftiness around here. But last night, I witnessed the epitome of Dutchness.

I attended a play at Kimmie's new high school building.

We entered a room with "Chapel" posted on the double doors and were shown to our seats in an an auditorium that rivaled most elegant theaters. Gazing at the beautiful surroundings distracted me from obtaining a program, but half-way through the first act, I leaned over and whispered to Kimmie, "Did you get a program?"

"No," she whispered back.

At intermission, I left the auditorium to use the restroom. On my way out, I noticed several people returning programs to a large stack sitting off to the side. Along with many other people, I scooped one up then returned to my seat. Kimmie and I read it together throughout the rest of the intermission, and I continued to watch as person after person finished reading their program, and returned it to the stack, while others would come by and pick one up. The stack never visibly shrunk or grew. There were obviously enough programs for everyone in attendance to have their own, yet these people could not suppress who they are.

They are Dutch.


They would take turns reading.

When the play finished, I purposefully watched to see what would happen with the programs. The pile grew and grew as audience members deposited their reading material. I had to smile to myself, and for some reason, it gave me a comfortable feeling to see this Dutch quality acted out.

Now, I know thriftiness is a stereotype of the Dutch, and I know that not all Dutch are frugal. But it just feels good to know that the majority of the people in this town choose to care not only about pinching their own pennies, but also pinching pennies for their school and for their neighbors. I've seen this quality acted out in other instances too, throughout town, not just at our school. It gave me a feeling of family: sharing, caring, taking turns, waiting.

I fully believe that if a person in town were to read this post, they would be puzzled. Because these actions are not thought out, they are part of the fabric of who the people in this community are. I'm not putting them on a pedestal, or romanticizing; I'm just saying I'm thankful to be part of them.
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