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Reflecting on our nation this Fourth

Have you ever really taken the time to think about the Fourth of July?  It is the day we celebrate the birth of the greatest nation on earth, and not just a number.  Of course we are not perfect, but we constantly strive to become an even better nation.  It is not, nor should it be, easy and I constantly ask God to help my fellow citizens and myself to be better.  I realize that I am not perfect and that I am often weak when I need to be stronger to fight for what I believe.

As an angler and a hunter America’s independence from King George III is important to me.  Here in my country the game is not owned by the royalty.  As long as I obey the game and fish seasons, and follow the regulations set down by an elected body of my representatives, I can hunt and I can fish nearly every day.  And I don’t need to hide in Sherwood Forest like Robin Hood and his merry men.  I can be open about my love of the outdoors.

I thought about this freedom while Barb and I sat together before a campfire near our dock.  We have enjoyed many campfires together over the years, some in our backyard, and some in special places such as the Rocky Coast of Maine.  The best of these were when we shared the pretty campfire blaze with our two special kids, but now they have grown and left the nest, as offspring are supposed to do.  That is how the Creator planned it.  Even baby Robins must eventually leave the nest and face the reality of life on their own.

Now as the two of us sit together we can be happy that our young ones have drifted off to build successful lives of their own.  We can be thankful that we are together, and free, and that our campfire will eventually provide us with hot coals to roast wieners for supper and s’mores for dessert.  After our bellies are full, and the coals are merely embers we will still sit together to enjoy the dying day as we listen to the approaching sounds of night.  We will not need masks as by now whatever one has, the other has also.  We might even hold hands, but none of this would be happening if not for the brave men and women who have sacrificed for our independence from 1716 till now.

Obviously campfires start me thinking, but often my thoughts are not always as profound as my thoughts about Independence Day.  As we sat there watching the fire die I realized that I had never cooked using our Dutch oven over the campfire.  I had even built a tripod over the fire to suspend the oven above the flames.  But there is not much reason to cook a big stew for just the two of us, so maybe I should invite neighbors to share our repast, if you could call anything produced from my lack of cooking skills a repast.  Maybe if Barb does nearly all of the cooking our Dutch oven might even turn out a decent meal.  Perhaps I’ll try to find out this summer.  Anyone have a good recipe?  I suppose I should start with something simple such as opening a can of baked beans.

Camp cooking with a can of beans would take me back to earlier campfires even before I met Barb.  Some of our recipes probably included ashes and maybe even some good old Ohio dirt.  I remember one recipe cooked by a friend that included flapjack dough and canned peas.  Even my faithful dog, Trix, refused to eat it, and he would eat anything.

Living my life in America has given me wonderful memories, and I give thanks to our forefathers who pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to give us this wonderful nation. These men faced hanging for their courage.  Happy Birthday America!

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