Wednesday, July 6, 2016

"You never know how much a man can't remember until he is called as a witness." ~ Will Rogers (1879–1935) humorist and social commentator

Hello friends, neighbors, those just passing by, and maybe an accidental tourist or two, I bid you welcome to this day, the one that is currently up and going, Wednesday, July 6, 2016. Over the Independence Day holiday, I saw dozens of celebrations being talked about with photos galore posted on Facebook. All different kinds of celebrations. Many were, as the custom is, enjoying outdoor cooking and other related activities. Others were on trips to the beach, to the amusement park, a sporting event, fireworks, or a huge family gathering. Some showed the fish they had caught. Many had pictures of the children playing and having a great time. Is this a great country or what? I read an explanation of this freedom and felt compelled to put it on my Twitter feed for July 4th. Describing America: "A country where people believe the moon landing is fake, but wrestling is real." Ain't it so! There were many who worked over the holiday weekend. Our military men and women in uniform, firefighters, and police officers stood in their place of duty as most of us enjoyed our time off. Freedom. By now, most of you know that I do enjoy reliving the history of our great nation. During my three day break, I probably watched 8 hours or more of History Channel type programming. You didn't? Good. That's why we call it freedom. My wife and recent high school graduated granddaughter went to see "Finding Dory" at the packed movie house. I declined the invitation. I told the granddaughter that when she was little I watched as much of that Dora as I could stand. She told me this was completely different. Good. Go forth and enjoy. When they came home, the wife decided to cook us an early supper. (The granddaughter's choice.) A big breakfast supper. Grits, eggs, bacon, homemade biscuits, gravy, the last of my sister-in-law's canned figs, and rice for the wife. (Rice. Her family tradition. Not mine.) See? Breakfast supper on July 4th. Freedom. I do hope that whatever you chose to do, that it included thanking God for all that He has provided to us. Amen.

In case you are wondering, I do know how to operate an outdoor cooking grill. I have over fifty years of experience in preparing all kinds of smoked meats. And, I do know that some people have serious commitments to continuing their particular traditions. That's okay with me. But, it's good to remember that whatever our tradition might be, it may be very different than the other person's tradition. I heard one individual talking about having a hot dog on the 4th of July. The way they saw it, not to have a hot dog on the 4th borders on being un-American. See what I mean? This viewpoint would cast doubt on a person's patriotism based on their freedom of choice in the food they consumed on the holiday. If that sounds crazy, it should. I read somewhere that when the 4th of July was actually officially established as a national holiday in 1870, there were many different ways in which folks celebrated. It may be hard to believe, but, turtle soup was one of the main delicacies served on the holiday in some of the larger eastern cities. The backyard barbecue became popular in the pre-WW2 era as cooking grills were marketed to families. What am I saying? Enjoy your tradition. Whatever that might be. But, always remember, as Americans, we as individuals can have as many traditions as we like or no traditions, and that's okay. We are free. Maybe if I grilled some hot dogs later this week I can make up for having a breakfast supper on the 4th. I'll try not to lose any sleep over it. I just remembered. We didn't have watermelon. I hope we are not doomed.

We do have our family traditions. We do our best to honor them. When we can. It's not always possible, therefore, we end up being, more or less, on our own. It's like the one I mentioned a few weeks ago. My wife prepared a full blown Thanksgiving Day meal in honor of Father's Day. That's not the first time she has made that type of meal at a time other than Thanksgiving, but, it is always a surprise. A good one. I know that to be a fact. I saw that food evaporate before my very eyes. When the wife and I married we discovered that our families observed different traditions. Uh oh. Her family did things differently than my family. Her family handled the giving out of Christmas gifts totally different than the way we always did it. The nerve! They prepared their meals differently. What we learned was that when it comes to these kinds of things there's not a right or wrong way to do it. I am so very thankful that we have blended the traditions from her family and from my family and, here's the kicker, we have merged in some of our own to make what we observe today. Beginning when our boys were first teenagers we began having steaks for our Christmas dinner. My wife's family never had steaks on Christmas. My family never had steaks on Christmas. We set up our own tradition and have followed it for some 30 years. My point? I don't think I need say more. I know. That's never kept me from continuing anyway, but, as I look at the clock on the wall, it's time for me to say so long for now. Lord willing, I will catch up with you next time. May God bless each one. Amen. ...More later.

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