Friday, July 4, 2014

Land That I Love

Today, in honor of Independence Day, I’m offering this repeat. I know you’re all busy baking pies, making potato salad and listening to patriotic music. But maybe you’ll find some echo in  your own heart as you read my notes here on country and kin.

Happy 4th of July!

We hopped into the car, anxious to get going, to yet another ballgame. We have three outstanding young athletes in the family and try to get to every game. The other night on our way to one of them, we passed two kids on bicycles. I was instantly transported to a place in my mind where somehow boys on bikes make me think of what a great country this still is. The bikes were not fancy. Nope, they looked like they could be hand me downs. You know, kind of wiggly, maybe in need of some paint. The boys? Jeans, t-shirts, and crew cuts. Does it get any more Americana than that? I’ve seen similarly dressed boys walking, fishing poles over their shoulders, on their way to the bridge in Niverville that crosses over the outlet for the lake. Like Tom and Huck. So cool.

One town over, in Kinderhook, there’s a People’s Parade on the 4th of July. Folks put red, white, and blue bandanas on their dogs and kids. Radio Flyer wagons are festooned with crepe paper and little flags for the toddlers to be pulled along in. Small marching bands and the local Elks club pull out all the stops rousing the crowd with their music and courage. And when the parade is over, right there on the village green, the Declaration of Independence is read while everyone munches on hot dogs, yells at the kids, settles the dog, or listens with quiet intensity. How cool is that?

Today I’ll be in the strawberry fields picking with my daughters-in-law and the grandkids. Shortly thereafter my kitchen will become a jam factory. We all ran out of jam way too early from last year’s efforts so we’re going into overdrive this year. We’ve done this for the last many years and it’s a glorious chaos of kids running around, fingers red from hulling fat berries, and someone calling over the noise “what do you want on your pizza?” when the men venture into the kitchen later looking for food. We’ll make them go and pick it up, too. I love that there are acres of strawberry fields, jam filled Mason jars, slamming screen doors, and pizza around the corner in my life.

Every time I sing The Star Spangled Banner, go to a church supper, hear the crack of a bat against a baseball, gab with a neighbor at the grocery store, zip by a field of corn reaching for the sun, or dip my toes into Kinderhook Lake, I feel grateful. Silly, sentimental woman that I am.

How about you? What are some of the simple ways you enjoy this land where we  live? 

Image: Free Digital Photos

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