We live in a farm town, very rural, way out West. Farm land comes right up to the last line of houses. Some of the homes are very old, for the West anyway. The few buildings downtown are older still, brick structures that remind you of Gettysburg.
People look directly at one another, and smile. At the grocery store this evening, a young soldier stood ahead of me in line. I thanked him for his service. He turned around, looked me in the eye, smiled, and thanked me. We know what we believe in, and why.
We’ve got more pot holes than pickups, more gophers than grapes, lions in the mountains, and wild boar too, along with black bear, incredible hawks, heron, egret and deer. One young fella shot an elk from his porch last year.
Men wear blue jeans and flannel shirts to church. So do the women.
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We count our police officers, neighbors. We fly the flag, treat it with respect, and sing the anthem, teary-eyed. We pray for our Presidents, more fervently for some, than others. We don’t take notice of skin color, but character, and integrity, those matter. When our team wins we do not burn down our town or loot the store.
We have one traffic light, one block down from the city hall/police station. It’s a blinking red light. That’s it. That’s all we need. This town is about 10 blocks wide and about 15 blocks long. We have four churches, an elementary school, a high school, a park, a few restaurants and a few small businesses: a bank, and insurance agency, a barber shop, a real estate place, a garage, a store, an antiques shop, one gas station, a tax preparer, a legit massage place, and an espresso hut. That’s it. That’s all we need.
The Catholics and the Protestants, the Mormons and the Methodists, the Hispanics and the Blacks and the Whites and the Indians, we all get along fine. In the everyday, you don’t see many people out and about. But on the 4th of July, thousands of people from all around pack in shoulder to shoulder for the parade and the BBQ.
And just like the rest of the world we suffer the pain that comes from drug abuse, alcohol abuse, broken homes, broken marriages, crime, and the sense that evil has the upper hand. But in a farm town, people learn to hold the line, and work for a better day. This is a place where people still trust one another, where folks gather food and clothing for others, every single week, always ready to help another one get back on his feet.
We still hold to the Golden Rule, and the Two Great Commandments, so we know there’s hope. People still care enough to ask how you are, and mean it. People are still tough enough to endure anything that comes their way, by pulling together, by choice, not by force.
An old fool got drunk at a local place a few weeks back. He refused to give up his car keys. When confronted by a pregnant woman, he pushed her. That’s when two young men intervened. The old fool pulled a gun and shot one of the young men. He was in critical condition for a while. Those young men stepped in to protect others, a very American thing to do. When the wounded man got out of the hospital, the entire community rallied to raise money for him, holding a BBQ and an auction, another very American thing to do.
Most of us learned in school and in church that the Founders were right when they told us the only way to be self-governing, and avoid tyranny, was to become more neighborly, and fearless. Farm boys and cowboys carry on the tradition, at home and overseas, wearing the uniform, proudly.
Pictures of our active duty men are proudly displayed at the barbershop where WWII, Korean, Vietnam, Gulf War and War on Terror Veterans gather for a trim. We honor every Vet on Memorial Day, placing flags by each grave.
We voted last year for a real patriot for President after years of being insulted and attacked by traitors. Call it Deplorables Rising if you like. We call it Patriot Payback.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.