Independence Day Reflections


A suggestion for this post came a few days ago from one of our Treepers. I think it is a wonderful idea, especially for today, and during these times.

I will just copy here a portion of her letter to me.

My friend, Jack is the father of four sons… and at the end of an email about his sadness over the dismantling of the statues of Washington and Lincoln, he mentioned that he and his boys had just been listening to “The Ballad of Davy Crockett,” and then he commented that “pretty soon, they’ll come for that, too.”

They very well could.

It made me think….what if they come for it all—all of our stories and poems and songs and books and movies, but each one of us could save something….what would it be? (Like Dolly Madison saved the portrait of Washington from the burning White House).

So, I wonder if Treepers would contribute to an “American cultural treasure chest” by suggesting the title of a poem, story, book, movie, song, or even of a photo or painting that was an important part of his or her own growing up. I’d be glad to collect all the suggestions together into something Jack and other parents and grandparents could share with their children and grandchildren as a way of connecting them to American history and culture—through the eyes of ordinary American people.

I was just reading …“Casey at the bat,” and I would definitely save that. It was the first poem that ever made me cry. And the book my mother read to me over and over again when I was very little, “The Little Engine that Could.” And Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” And all of the Rogers and Hammerstein musicals. And “Gone With the Wind.”

I wonder what bits of your own cultural history you would save?

If people are planning to be with friends and family this 4th of July weekend, the question might be a great conversation starter.

So, I pass on this idea, and a few thoughts.

If it is worth saving, it is worth sharing, teaching, discussing, promoting. Lots of us are feeling that we should do something to stop the insanity going on in this country right now, but not sure exactly where to start or what to do.

At 62, with no real talents except cooking and pissing people off left and right, I have now reached the Don’t Give a Red Hot Damn stage in my life, and I feel I do not have a lot to lose in the battles to come, which for me have mostly been fought on social media. Should things escalate I would imagine that there are more than a few cantankerous old people who are also at that stage.

But I do have one other talent and ability, perhaps the most important of my life. I can teach, and I love to, although I am not a professional and have no degree in teaching. I have tutored my own and other kids along the way, and now I have grandchildren.

Those grandchildren will learn things from me. It is time I gave more thought to what exactly I want to spend time teaching them. Of course I have always had books here for them, and my eight year old granddaughter, who loves to read, just asked me to get some longer books to keep here for her. I bought Heidi and Swiss Family Robinson a few months ago. I also keep children’s religious stories and books, and since she had her First Holy Communion recently,  a Bible for her, and some more advanced books dealing with her studies to prepare her for the Sacrament.

So, my point is this. Education and knowledge and influence are weapons and we have the ability to use them. I have a lot of time with my grandchildren, and today is the day to make a little more time for important things, and I don’t just mean books.

I’ve taught some of the kids some cooking basics, as well as started teaching them to bake breads. My husband is a genius at fixing any and everything, and a very good mechanic. He has always taken the time to answer the kids’ questions and let them help him with his projects, and fixing their own broken things.

What talents, skills, and knowledge can you pass on? I might even think about volunteering as a tutor in inner city schools. There are lots of places that people with good intent can pass on what we have to share.

Happy 4th of July Treepers!

Added note: Please read the post. There is a reason for it. It isn’t another post for political rage, sarcasm, anger, and insults. The Treeper who suggested this is going to compose a listing of all your ideas that might be shared. Do we have to make her sort through rants?

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