Happy Birthday, America
It’s overcast here in Tiny Town for the Fourth of July, with occasional periods of soft, gentle rain. I can hear a dove, perched on a telephone wire outside, cooing and adding to the peaceful atmosphere. As I sit here in the quiet, it reminds me that Thanksgiving isn’t the only holiday on which we should pause and give thanks. I give thanks that I’m not in Sedona, Arizona, where a friend owns a charming folk art gallery. She suffers from a chronic lung condition and the record-breaking heat and attendant dust are making her life that much more difficult. Wildfires crackle through other areas of Arizona. This summer, in the normally hip, cool, New Age town of Sedona, tourists are staying away in droves, aware of the blistering heat and Arizona wildfires. For a folk art gallery that depends somewhat on foot traffic, this is not good. Cash registers are not ringing. But mostly I sympathize with my friend due to her lung condition. Something that we take for granted — breathing — is always a struggle for her. Another friend is in equally hot, dry and dusty Palm Springs with his wife, who suffers from inoperable Stage 4 lung cancer. It’s not that I feel sorry for my friends…I feel sympathetic and wish them the best. A lot of things could be worse than sitting in a quiet office, CNN on in the background for company, as raindrops gather on my windows.
I celebrate our freedom and those who have fought for it, and for the unalienable gifts of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” as the Declaration of Independence so eloquently put it. Read the Declaration of Independence and think about what a gift it is to be alive today. Does it matter that I probably won’t see any fireworks today? Not at all. My usual viewing of fireworks is modest anyway…I sit on the front steps and watch the skies over the LaRue County fairgrounds light up with fireworks. I give thanks that I’m fortunate enough to live in a paid-for home, that I get to do the work I love, that I live in a community with a low crime rate, low taxes, a high quality of life, and a real sense of place. People know one another here. They know what you stand for.
I grew up in the metro Washington, DC area, although 30+ years ago I returned to my Kentucky roots that were planted in the 1780s only 18 miles from here, in Greensburg, Ky. Watching fireworks in Washington, DC — if one really wants to do it up right — consists of a tense drive, along with hundreds of thousands of other spectators, to the National Mall. Yes, the fireworks show is incredible. But I would never want to make that drive again, in a town where traffic is ranked right after New York City in terms of congestion. Real estate there is highly overrated and horrendously priced. The cost of living and taxes are high. People in metro DC-land crave power. It’s a fish pond, and those big sharks swallow the little fishies in the blink of an eye. It kind of takes the…enjoyment…out of a lot of life.
It’s quality of life that I’m after, and I’ve found it here. There are no big city skylines. There are no taxi cabs, or even a bus line. But we have peace and serenity, bountiful gardens and wild game. Netflix provides additional entertainment beyond gardening (thank you, Roku — you’ve made streaming movies easy-peasy!) and Amazon provides everything that I could possibly want: soba noodles, a new 4-terabyte external backup hard drive, and even the water filter for the water dispenser on my refrigerator. I can’t remember the last time I was in a big-box store or a shopping mall. Seed catalogs start arriving in January, offering much greater variety than I could ever hope to find no matter how many stores I searched. I’m not working in a Chinese sweatshop factory. I have my health. I have friends who love me, and I love them. So, I celebrate my freedom and all these gifts today. We hope that you, too, are celebrating your freedom, and the many gifts you’ve been given in life.
The postcards are from our sister site, VintagePostcards.org, where you can find lots more eye candy. Or, have a look at our interesting pins on Pinterest. There’s something there for everyone, smiles.
Read a cautionary tale about a woman who never understood the importance of family, and who insisted on dying alone.
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