Independence Day had a little extra luster for me this year.
I’m not sure exactly why, though I think it has to do with where I am in life. At 60, with a wife who is retired, growing grandchildren – well, there’s just a lot to think about in terms of what kind of life America offers its citizens.
Our church, Allen-Lee UMC in Lone Oak, is working to raise money to make our building handicapped accessible. Because we have a matching grant through the end of August, we’ve been particularly busy since late April.
Roz Edmondson, Stuart Crosby and I sold baked goods, looper clip potholders, potato chips and cold soft drinks in Grantville on July 3. The next day, a large group of us from Allen-Lee were in Moreland for Puckett Station – Festival on the Fourth.
The Moreland barbecue was as delicious as ever. The pork was tender, and the stew was thick and spiced just right.
Quinn, our younger granddaughter, came home after Moreland’s festival to spend the night with Muv and Pop. She was a bit intimidated by the sound of the fireworks all around, but I took time to see some of the stadium’s display from my back porch steps. Then some of my neighbors had their own pyrotechnic display just down the street, and I walked to the edge of the sidewalk to take it all in.
Each part of my Independence Day had its own flavor.
Having Quinn at our house on the evening of July 4 gave me a soft, cozy feeling. She helps me remember what it was like to be little and less than confident – and yet to know I am surrounded by love. The security of home is certainly a big part of what America means to me. I always feel like those who face the foe in uniform are fighting for home above all else.
Moreland is a longtime tradition in my family. In addition to all the folks from Allen-Lee, my mother, my brothers and their wives and daughter Sallie and family were there. Cousins by the dozens, too.
My niece and nephew, Rachel and Nick Evans, brought their sons, Walter and Zeb, to take part in the bike contest. Nick and Rachel’s friendly dog, Cora, won third place in the dog walk contest and took home a bag of canine prizes from Dr. Nicole Andrews-Kees of Moreland Animal Hospital.
I love being part of the Moreland Cultural Arts Alliance, too, and it was fun rolling out MCAA’s new T-shirt with David Boyd’s favorite drawing of Lewis Grizzard.
Grantville’s pre-fireworks event was a big community party. People brought blankets. There were little ones in strollers. I got a great Philly cheesesteak sandwich from a food truck.
Trains came through town three times during the festival and then a fourth time as the fireworks were exploding overhead. The train’s whistle blended into the fireworks’ cacophony.
Grantville’s celebration centered on the white brick freight depot that has been there since before the Civil War. Just across the tracks is the charming mustard colored passenger depot, and both testify to the role the railroad has played in the development of our county and our country.
Many aspects of July 4 brought me closer to people I love. On the other hand, Grantville’s trains evoked the vast greatness and interconnection of this wonderful country. May we always be the land of the free – and the home of the brave.
Winston Skinner is the news editor of The Newnan Times-Herald. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .