I had the honor and the joy of spending the Fourth of July in Canadian, Texas, a town of twenty thousand or so folks who, mainly, make their living in the oil patch or cattle ranching, a totally Middle-American community located in the Texas Panhandle where Old Glory still flies high and patriotism is a natural way of life.
Hazel and I decided to go for a morning walk and strolled through some of the neighborhoods and gradually worked our way toward the business district and the courthouse where the Independence Day celebration was in full swing with concession stands, a turtle race and a rodeo that has been going on for 125 years.
While we were out, the parade started up and we sat on a bench in a small park and watched it go by. Tractors pulled homemade floats full of fresh-faced kids and seniors with sun-ripened faces tossing out candy to the crowds on the sides of the street and occasionally good-naturedly sluicing them with water guns.
As we watched the proceedings, I couldn't help but think that this is what America is all about - this is our strength, our roots, a place where political correctness is practically unknown, where neighbors still help neighbors and pity the man who comes to take their guns away.
We bought some corn roasted in the shuck from a street vendor and later that day I saw a man riding a horse down the street and I was so impressed to be spending the 237th birthday in a town that still retains that spirit of independence, reverence for God and sense of family.
There was a day when that attitude was the rule, rather than the exception, in this nation, when everyone earned their daily bread and charity was reserved for the truly needy and those unable to take care of themselves.
A day when a man who faked an injury to draw a disability check would have been a pariah, and the very idea that families would stay on welfare for three and four generations would not have been believed.
A time when bullies had to fear an older brother or sister of those they picked on, knowing that one day soon they would be cornered in the school yard and called to task for their foolishness.
There was a sense of community, a reverence for God, a pride in America that motivated city slickers and country bumpkins alike to join in any fight our nation found herself in and defy overwhelming odds knowing full well that no foreign flag would ever fly over their courthouse.
Handshakes were contracts and promises were gold and insults were not hastily issued and were taken seriously and family was everything, worth any amount of effort or sacrifice it took to feed it, clothe it and keep a roof over its head.
I like to think that kind of America still exists in places like Canadian, TX, an oasis of sanity in a world gone crazy where time passes a little slower and the Friday night high school football game is still a big event, where the folks can still find time to sit on the front porch in the cool of the evening, sip a little sweet tea and just be a family.
I want to thank the folks in Canadian, TX for sharing their town and their Fourth of July with me and letting me go on my way feeling a little better about this nation I love so very much.
What do you think?
Pray for our troops and the peace of Jerusalem.
God Bless America