I spent the first half of my day traveling over two hours to a small sleepy town in Kansas to attend a Cowboy Story Teller’s of the Western Plains meeting with my dad. He’s the president and has been for over 12 years. And me...I’m the treasurer, a job I acquired one day when I rode with him to their “folding” meeting. That was three years ago. That day I urged them not to terminate their group. Well, now I’m the treasurer. This organization was founded over 20 years ago by a group of people that didn’t want their family’s stories to die. Today there are many, “empty saddles” in the original group. But new members perpetually regenerate. As members gather, concerns for a country gone awry can be overheard. The meeting begins with a prayer giving thanks to our God for the day, our freedom, the food, safe trips to and from, and guidance for our country. A small unorganized board meeting takes place and accolades to an 87 year old member who has mapped the Chisholm Trail and erected markers all across the state is given. As the afternoon rolls on stories, poems, singing and banjo picking permeate the community center... a ninety year old woman relating stories of her childhood, the great grandson of an 1890 homesteader giving a power point of his roots, a beautiful young family of 8 singing Christian hymns, a young mother reciting original poetry about her Grandpa’s spurs as her three year old son looks on adoringly, a cowboy reciting a poem written during the Dust Bowl entitled "Dust On The Bible" and two awesome yodelers yodeling.
The evening finds us in another county in another state 130 miles away. My dad had received a county award and we meet family members there to celebrate. Five members of our county were inducted into the county Hall of Fame. The banquet begins with some unorganized shifting of tables, plates, and people, group singing of "God Bless America", and a local minister expressing concern for a country gone awry as he gives thanks to God for the day, our freedom, the food, and safe trips to and from and guidance for our country. The five honoree's biographies are read, each one giving God the credit for their successful lives. The end to a perfect day...facing a large wall hung U.S. flag crocheted by the 87 year old father of one of the hostesses, the crowd begins to stand, one by one, hearts crossed, as a talented young man sings, "I'm Proud To Be An American."
Today was America, let's pray she doesn’t change.
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