My America

My grandparents once owned a store and lived in a house across the road.  I remember being in it as a child and it seemed awfully big, dark, and exciting. The candy counter and the bright-colored sweets with the scales my grandfather used to measure a penny’s worth, the tiny brown candy sacks, were a wonder to me. The store had bolts of cloth on high shelves, cards of buttons, cans of food, and in the back, saddles and bridles and the heady smell of leather. It was a gathering place for news and visits and buying supplies. 

My grandparents and my parents raised their families, worked hard, believed in God and freedom. Anything was within reach if you worked toward a goal and believed. That was America to them. 

Frank Sinatra sang many songs about many different subjects, but one of my favorites is The House I Live In.

The country Frank sang about, that’s the country I love, the land where I grew up. It’s still there, under all the violence and hatred and turmoil and uncertainty. 

The howdy and the handshake, the air of feeling free, and the right to speak your mind out; that’s America to me.

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