I’m sure we’ve all been told not to “judge a book by its cover.” But how many of us actually practice it.
Fifteen years ago, my daughter, Alexandria and I were on our yearly trip from Los Angeles to Montana to see the grandparents. During the trip the four of us ventured to Yellowstone Park. We happened to go there right after the Spearfish, South Dakota Harley biker rally. If you’re not familiar with this … it’s when over tens of thousands of Harley riders convene in mass for a week of fun and frolic (I guess everything is relative). After the rally the thousands disembark to go home in all directions. A lot of them spend time in Yellowstone about 500 mile west.
Our last night there we stayed at the Lake Yellowstone Lodge and ate breakfast in the “grand room.” The “grand room” consists of about twenty long tables where people sit next to people they don’t know . Our table consisted of families not unlike us – regular looking families – all with young kids Alex’s age.
About two tables over were a group of obvious Spearfish attendees. This particular group could have easily been cast in a Hell’s Angles movie – as the real thing. The obvious leader of the group wore a wolf’s head for a hat. Now I’m talking about the real thing that went a good two feet down his back. Hard not to notice!
It wasn’t ten minutes after we sat down, Alex started … “I want to wear the wolf’s head.” At first I ignored her – hoping the whim would just go away.
It didn’t. And after a good twenty minutes, to the objection of grandma, I relented. I offered to go over to the “wolf head biker” with her, but Alex would have none of it. And off she went … with all the other kids and parents around us watching (or should I say – waiting for the carnage).
After a brief conversation with the “wolf head biker” Alex returned with the wolf head on her head. As I looked over to “wolf head biker,” now exposing his bald head – he smiled.
Immediately, there was a buzz throughout the room. Kids asking, or in some cases demanding they wear the wolf head. Most parents gave up and the line formed.
But some didn’t. Obviously they didn’t learn “don’t judge a book by its cover.” He and his friends were just too … not like them.
My daughter didn’t and thank God I didn’t. A lot of kids brought home a “great” memory. But some didn’t. Some will bring home a memory of distrust – or worse yet a seedling of bigotry.
After the parade was over, the “wolf head biker” came over to our table and thanked me. I tried to thank him … but he wouldn’t have it – it was highlight of his trip. We made his day, not the other way around.
By the way … he was a dentist from Sacramento.
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