Independence and Freedom

To honor America, our independence, our freedoms and our optimism. A special place in my heart for summer b-b-q, fireworks, the display of red, white and blue celebrating in my Mothers’ memory, which this special feeling of thankfulness in our great land was her favorite holiday and is also the anniversary of her passing.

All of my child hood memories seem so very clear on this special day, the family gatherings, the food, flying American flags and the festive feelings in the air. The trek to our favorite and semi-secret places, typically at the beach or to the mountains to view the display of pyrotechnics.

That was in the middle of summer, far from the beginning of a new school year with more important things to think about, firecrackers, picnics and our country’s birthday. Now that fall is here, there’s a welcome chill in the air, the season’s change still inspires me with celebration of our countries greatness as a presidential election nears.

I grew up in a loving, caring household with all of the benefits associated with an understanding of team work, honesty, charity, family, being helpful and neighborly, doing the right thing, getting by with less and the open offerings of love. The way of life that truly does evoke The American Way.

The joy of abundance was best communicated by a mother and grandmother who knew how to give best through their amazing home cooking. The love from the kitchen where everyone congregated, the macaroni and potato salads, home-made pickles, summer jams and jellies, fresh-baked breads, real lemon-aide, bowls full of fruits and berries, sliced and seeded water melon, b-b-q chicken and don’t forget the pies.

What I miss more than having so many foods to eat with your fingers, the ants who came in for a feast, the sand in your mouth, the smell of gunpowder was the endless support and love displayed openly via a network of close family who gathered for no other reason than wanting to celebrate America.

We actually had family discussions, we always ate together at the kitchen table and we shared in each others lives.  The importance of this family dynamic is more apparent and persistent than ever today as I have experienced friends struggling due to broken families and the sadness associated from the passing of loved ones, a parent, a child or a sibling.

My network of new friends, a new connection of distant family and a reconnection with old friends have communicated all their happiness, their life changes, and sadness due to divorce, betrayal and even addiction. More lost and questioning souls are part of my daily life today, as I can feel their pain as I strive for a better understanding of the whys.

Having the opportunity to view the Space Shuttle Endeavor slowly being escorted through the streets of Los Angeles on its way to a permanent home, to be on display for all to view in wonder and amazement has sparked for many a new appreciation of America.

The new millennium celebrations seem smaller, less intimate, induced by more alcohol, filled with less enthusiasm and feeling older now that my parents are gone, no aunts, uncles and cousins visiting from out-of-town, fewer kids running screaming in delight of sparklers. However I do enjoy a new appreciation that the world and America continues to change and evolve.

Looking back I have so much to be thankful for, once again living closer to my children and I do so relish the opportunity to communicate openly on a regular basis. Times may be tough right now, but there have been special moments filled with laughter that I cherish dearly and I am happy to be here, experiencing a new life with pride. I am reminded of days gone by, summers past and though I didn’t make it to the beach this year for jello salad and my Mom’s cookies, my new location affords me frequent walks on the shoreline, the bliss of sand and the Pacific ocean between my toes, the calming salt air and the sunsets.

From where I sit on my patio of surrounded by darkness, the world still unfolds it’s bounty of possibilities all seemingly moving forward. My participation in all things wonderful continues with a spice of surprise inspired by the actions and reactions of people around me.

To say that I am blessed is an understatement, as I’m compelled to scribe a few notes of appreciation for the independence and freedom that I enjoy, having realized once again that forgiveness and gratitude should be part of our daily expression and prayer.

On this very early Sunday morning I somehow feel directly connected to a happiness and pride in the land of the free and today I will join in a congregation of like souls who believe in God and strive to connect on a deeper and much more inspirational basis. To hear the words “God Bless America” ring true as I take on a new day, a new life and new direction.

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