Shootin' the Breeze

and random targets

Archive for the tag “4th of July”

P.C. Concerns about 4th of July

So I said to Mr. P.C. that I hoped he would have a nice 4th of July weekend.

He replied, “Thank you, but I don’t celebrate America’s self-centered sense of superiority.”

“Oh,” I responded, “I think we are celebrating the birth of our nation.  Isn’t that okay?”

“No because it is insensitive to the heritage of other nations.  It is not inclusive.”

“Can’t other nations celebrate their own histories rather than have their feelings hurt that they are not part of the United States?”

Mr. P.C. was not satisfied by my logic.  He repeated, unnecessarily, that “the 4th of July is exclusively an American celebration and thus not inclusive,” (which everyone knows is the highest standard).

I stubbornly persisted, “America can celebrate being America, I believe, without it being negative about other nations who are not, in fact, America.  When it is your birthday, I don’t think it is my birthday too.  I know it is not my birthday and do not resent that it is yours, nor that you are you and I am not you.”

“That is different.  I am an individual.  This conversation is about nationalism.”

“Okay.  I do not object, for example, that Mexicans celebrate Cinco de Mayo.  I have even attended events on that date without being Mexican and without resenting the celebration by Mexicans.”

“Of course.  So do I.  It is important to me to show that I am not prejudiced.  My celebrating Cinco de Mayo shows that I am inclusive; that I honor the history of Mexico and all nations.”

I saw a flaw in his argument.  “Let me get this straight — you celebrate Cinco de Mayo because you are not a Mexican but you do not celebrate the 4th of July because you are an American.”

“Precisely.  Now you understand political correctness.  I do not want to appear biased toward America.  The 4th of July is all about pride in America. Americans need to get off our high horse.”

“Umm.  Well, I still wish you a nice 4th of July, Barack.”

“You still don’t get it, but I wish you a holy Ramadan nevertheless.”

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FIRE department WORKS on the 4th

On the 4th of July, the fire truck came up our lane, siren blaring and lights flashing.

I told them to go away.  I had not called them.  I had the situation under control.  How ungrateful!  I know.

I stood with my garden hose, controlling the burning pit.  So what if black smoke was billowing skyward?  That was just from the tires.

Apparently, some busybody saw the flames and black smoke from the highway a mile away and tattled.  Someone cared about us.  What do I care!

Getting a burn permit is really complicated.  It was way over my head, something I never covered in law school.  So, like the heroes in countless westerns, I took the law into my own hands.  I would have gotten away with it too, if only the smoke did not rise hundreds of feet.  If only no one noticed.  If only no one cared.

Sure, if it had been a fire threatening our home or barn, we would have welcomed the help,  but this fire was my own controlled burn, started intentionally in order to dispose of scrap lumber and old Christmas trees and branches and stuff we did not want.  The county charges to take things to the dump.  I was being economical.  Burn permits cost too.  Like I said, I was being economical, if illegal.  I was absent from law school on the day they taught about burn permits.  Ignorance of the law is my excuse.

Plus, I’m not that bright.  You can ask anybody.  My mother can tell you stories of my risk-taking that will curl your hair.  Miss Sugar, my wife, can too.  Anyone stupid enough to swing a rattlesnake over his head is stupid enough to play with fire.  For an explanation of the rattlesnake reference, see:  https://cowboylawyer.wordpress.com/2012/06/18/me-and-pecos-bill-5/.

The firemen decided to put out the fire, despite my assurances.  They also gave the impression that this was not how they had intended to spend the 4th of July.

If they didn’t want to be there, then why did they empty the tanker truck on my little old fire?  Oh, well, at least we got the pond we always wanted.  For more on the pond, see:   https://cowboylawyer.wordpress.com/2013/06/15/beau-aint-no-lassie/.

Afterward, to rub it in, they parked the truck on the bridge and re-filled the tank by pumping water from the river that runs through our ranch.  It took a long time for them to steal our water.

I felt embarrassed.  I felt foolish.  Miss Sugar assured me that I was just that — foolish.

I apologized to the firemen.  I knew them.  I used to be on the board for the volunteer fire department.  As their attorney, I got grants to purchase the first trucks.  (I had attended class on the day they taught about grant applications.)  Twenty years ago, I helped build the station, like an old fashioned-barn raising.  I lifted the trusses for the roof, using my brawn.  They wouldn’t trust me with power tools.  So, I have a long history with this local volunteer fire department.

That might be why they gave me a break.  I was not cited.  I was not billed.  I was lucky.  I was sorry.

I wrote a letter to the fire department, in which I thanked them and apologized profusely.  I was repentant.  Sort of.

This happened several years ago.  After all the wildfires last year, even I know better than to burn trash when the grass is dry.  Next time, I will wait until it snows and keep the tires away from the fire.   However, I won’t get a burn permit.  That is where I draw the line.

Independence Day

On the 4th of July, we Americans celebrate our nation’s independence.  It is fitting and proper that we should do this.

In addition to celebrating with parades, picnics and fireworks, it is also appropriate to pray.

Our prayers should certainly include thanking the Lord for the U.S.A. and our opportunities as citizens.

Our prayers should also include intercessory prayers for those who serve in the military and in various government leadership positions.

And, let us pray for wisdom for ourselves as well as our leaders.  I humbly suggest that we consider our expectations about what the federal government ought to be doing and what it ought not be doing for its citizens.   In the 200 plus years since our nation was formed, the role of government has expanded to such a degree that dependence on the government has been fostered.

The founders provided a wonderful framework by setting up our precious Constitution.  Our representative form of government provides the opportunity to debate choices we face about what the government will provide as services and spend for those services.

On Independence Day, let us think about (and pray about) how much dependence on our government we will accept as free people.

Our Flag Was Still There

We ordered a telescoping flagpole through an internet company.  It is a fancy one, about twenty-five feet tall.  We put a solar light on the very top so the American flag would never be in the dark, per flag protocol. 

In concrete two feet deep, I set the hollow PVC sleeve, into which the first section of the pole was placed as shown in the instructions.  From bottom to top, increasingly narrower sections of the telescoping design extend out.  Near the top, there are clips for two flags.  Highest, of course, we attached the American flag.  Below it, we affixed a Lone Star flag, in honor of Miss Sugar’s Texas heritage. 

We were proud of our flagpole and the flags displayed.  That lasted about three weeks.

One day we came home and saw evidence that, in our absence, terrible winds caused damage.  Some decorations attached to our courtyard wall were on the ground, as if vandals had removed a few  but not all.  It was disturbing.

However, the most disturbing sight was to see that the section of the flagpole closest to the ground was bent at a 90 degree angle.  The section in concrete was intact, sticking two inches above ground, but the section held within that base was broken at the leverage point.

“…That our flag was still there…” was a relief.  The top of the pole was caught by a tree.  We removed the bent section, which was ruined, and erected the flagpole again, now several feet shorter.  The flags are flying again, in time for the 4th of July.

God bless America!

Oh, Miss Sugar told the flagpole seller what happened and they are replacing it.  If the wind keeps breaking it, we might become the manufacturer’s most frequent warranty claimants.  Maybe there will be a Colorado exclusion in the future.

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