Quite a few years ago, 1995 to be exact, my husband and I had an opportunity to drive from the East coast, Daytona Beach, Florida to the West coast, San Diego, California. As we drove across this beautiful A mer
ica of ours my mind kept going back to the lyrics of one of our now most famous patriotic songs, “America the Beautiful”. From Sea to Shinning Sea, we saw those amber waves of grain and purple mountains majesty. I had often wondered how Katharine Lee Bates in 1893 came up with all those words for what at that time was her poem called “America” and now I know.
Now we find ourselves returning home from a different direction across this great country of
I am glad to be home but this time I feel we need a vacation from the vacation; 3,551 miles in seven days in a different place every night was a little much. Our journey took us to Michigan where we attend my husband’s class reunion. It was nice to be able to put a face with the names of people he has shared stories about with me. Everyone knew him but he did not recognize everyone. So funny when he thought the lady of the couple we met upon arrival in the parking lot was a classmate when actually it turned out the husband was the classmate.
I was surprised to learn that with their struggling economy the majority of his classmates still lived in the surrounding area. My husband left the cold when he join the Navy and never went back other than to visit his parents; and now they too like a lot of the landmarks have passed away.
This time our journey was different; the landscape of America had changed. We could tell the famers had been hard at work as we watch the winds blow through the amber waves of grain and beautiful corn fields and whistled along through empty buildings and deserted areas dotted with “For Sale” signs. So many homes and businesses caught up in the sound of stories laced with hard times, lay offs and lost revenue.
My husband came from a busy rural town that was only a few blocks long with no stop lights. The town supported three bars, numerous churches, several garages, hardware stores, a small book store, a gas station, several resale shops, a grocery store, burger shop, restaurant, senior center, barber and beauty shop. Hard times have really hit this area, how hard you ask - a small grocery store, barber shop, gas station, hardware
store, and print shop are the only businesses that remain open in town.
With all due respect Mr. President, maybe you should take better notes in regards to the condition of our current economy and how it really is affecting the working men and women in small town America. They are struggling to take care of their families, keep their homes, pay their bills and cannot even support a gathering place in one bar much less all three bars so, they all closed down along with the other businesses in their town. They have their faith but even their churches are suffering as there is little money going in the plate when it is passed to support all the many that now need assistance. I think many would agree that these things are a statement that speaks loud and clear as to how well your “recovery programs” are working all over this country in small town America. Mr. President, we found this scenario over and over again as we traveled through the towns and communities of these United States; but then you and I don’t travel in the same circles so I guess that is why you can’t and won’ t see i
After experiencing all this I am happy to report that towns may have gotten smaller due to the domino effect of the economy but I tell you this, we found the “American Spirit” alive and well
and brightly burning. No matter where we went the attitude was “by the grace of God we will get through this”. They said they will make it not because they are waiting for a handout but because the old American way is to ban together with your neighbor, go out and beat the bushes so to speak, to make those ends meet, be a support system for each other and know in your heart “God sheds His Grace on Thee.”