EXTRA EDITION - "PROGRESS IN AMERICA"
-Authentic Americans In My Backyard-
How did your Labor Day weekend go? Mine was great! My wife, Cindy, and I attended an outdoor concert and community picnic on Saturday and then shared Monday with one of our daughters and her husband.
On Monday, I made two trips to our local grocery store as the wants of my family changed while deciding what we were going to have for dinner that evening. Looking around that day, it was apparent that most of the small businesses had their doors open making themselves available for their customers. I started thinking about a time when I was living in Louisiana several years ago and a gentleman, IC "Jug" Hunt, told me that in the oilfield in the Gulf of Mexico, "There are not holidays, it never rain and it's never dark". In other words you work 24 hours a day, seven days a week no matter your working conditions. I would like to give a big "Thank You" to all the American Soldiers, Police, Firefighters, Doctors and all other workers who miss relaxing holidays because they have chosen a job that requires of them that they work with the same attitude that was expressed to me by that supervisor in Louisiana those many years ago.
I personally experienced a considerable number of Authentic Americans Saturday afternoon and evening at the community picnic in my hometown, Cedaredge, Colorado. Through the efforts of a local business, the town provided seven different flavors of The Other White Meat (pork), including barbequed ribs. The choice of salads, side dishes and desserts were of great enough quantity and variety to satisfy all who were in attendance. Most of the attendees brought their own lawn chairs and coolers to enjoy live music provided by The David Star Band. The three-hour event consisted of eating good food, listening to great music, visiting with neighbors and meeting a few new friends.
Our town does not allow individuals to bring alcohol on city property yet I have a suspicion that some of the coolers brought for the event may have contained an adult beverage or two. A group of 6 or 8 young adults were at a picnic table at the far end of the park where they sat and smoked a cigarette or two. A few of the attendees chose to dance on the grass in front of the band. Youngsters ran around until I was worn out watching them. Looking around I saw, local business owners, city employees, city elected officials, ranchers, farmers, young people, old people, a reporter for local newspaper, and just like me, a lot of plain regular folks. Some wore cowboy boots and jeans, others shorts and tee shirts, bare feet, sandaled feet, tennis shoes, dress shoes, dresses that matched the hippies of the 1960's and clothes representing the most current fashion. Mustaches, beards, tattoos, a piercing here and there, grey hair and regular working men and women dressed in relaxed attire for the event were seen.
Authentic Americans were all around me visiting with each other and laughing together. These were the same people who have openly opposed each other at city council meetings in the past and who will continue to oppose each other in the arena of ideas in the future. I know my wife brought an apple crisp, and all of the other salads, side dishes and desserts were brought by those in attendance. David Star provided enjoyment for our town and we all wish him well on his upcoming trip to Arkansas to perform with John Oates. Thanks to a local restaurant for providing the pork. Thanks to our city officials for using some of our tax dollars in this manner. The city police were not in attendance unless one of the officers had a few open minutes on their shift and slipped in for some food.
My hometown is modern. The town I live in is not a scene from a Norman Rockwell painting, Andy Taylor is not our sheriff, and we don't have Opie and his friends playing at our distinctive Municipal Skate Park; yet we experience an Authentic America style of living that seems to be unavailable to many others. The event was enjoyed by all regardless of their political affiliation, age, national origin, religion or looks. Why? For two reasons. First and foremost, each individual in attendance required appropriate behavior from everyone else. How may of you have seen a media presentation of some recent fights at sporting events where people are injured and nobody near those fighting required that the fight stop? How many of you have recently seen media reports where adults at political or public events were behaving in a manner that was just wrong and nobody near to them did or said anything to oppose their behavior?
Second, the city government in my hometown simply expects and requires all of us to behave in an appropriate manner when an event like this is held. This year during the weekend of October 1st an 2nd somewhere between 15,000 and 20,000 people will attend an event named Applefest in Cedaredge. Applefest has been going on annually for over 30 years. This event is sponsored by the local Chamber of Commerce and closes Main Street for the weekend with around 200 venders providing entertainment and fun for all. There is a Beergarden area near the bandstand for those who wish to enjoy local wines or beer. Local police provide security and informing visitors that their dogs cannot attend the event with them is one of the biggest issues.
Who are the Authentic Americans that I saw during the Labor Day weekend? It was a bunch of activists. The activists I saw were those friends and neighbors of mine who demand proper behavior of those who live in our community. These same activists provide vivid examples of the dialogue and discussion of disagreement at political events.
I am a Colorado Native who was born in Rifle, graduated from Palisade High School and Mesa Junior College back when it was a two-year institution. My life has allowed me the experience of living in seven different states including small towns and large metropolitan cities such as Los Angeles, Austin and Phoenix. One thing I know to be true about living and working in each of those communities is that the individual people, not the regulations of the government, are what define the environment in which people live.
Yes, in Cedaredge you have the right to smoke a cigarette in public. You also have the right to bring food that you made to a public event to share with others without an advanced approval from the EPA, FDA, USDA, or CIA while submitting to a local permitting process that in some communities will not allow young girls to sell lemonade to raise money for a good cause. I believe it is undeniable that we need established rules for public events. However, many government mandates look foolish when held up against the common sense of Authentic Americans.
Our great country was built by Authentic Americans and we will continue to offer a great place for our children because of the individual decisions that each of us make everyday. Although our country and most of our family and friends are facing some tough times right now, we are the United States of American and we will go through these tough times and live in easier times in the future. I believe that the speed and strength of our country's recovery will not be dictated by decisions made by government bodies, but by the individual decisions made by each of us, each and every day. One of the most influential decisions you will make will be on November 6, 2012 when you cast a vote for our national leaders. Be an Authentic American and cast a well-informed vote.