Friday, June 29, 2012

Land that I love.....

Sitting in a pub on a rainy November afternoon in Ireland a few years back, an elderly gentleman in a grey tweed jacket struck up a conversation with me about dreams. “I retired a few years ago,” he lamented. “Now, I come down here most afternoons for a pint or two…or three, if truth be told, and dream about things that could have been.” Intrigued, and loving the way the words roll through his thick Irish brogue, I encouraged him to continue. “If you could have only one dream still come true, what would it be?” His blue eyes twinkled, “Aye, lassie, that one is easy. I would buy a plane ticket and fly to New York City?” I was a little surprised. “Really?” He put his pint down and turned to me, “Aye. I would spend a few days in the city and then buy another ticket for a Greyhound bus that was bound for California. I would see a lot of your grand country along the way.” As I looked over at the bog burning in the stone hearth, I couldn’t help but think of the irony of our conversation. “Wow”, I said to him. “I am living one of my dreams sitting here in your country.” He picked up his pint and replied…..”Then you dream too small”.

I do not dream small. I know what our country means to me, I’m just always surprised at what it means to outsiders. Right beneath my kitchen window and slightly above my skink, is a wooden plague that reads “Land that I love….”  It has been there for years. I can’t even remember buying it. And still, I would never think of moving it. I know that we have our issues, but this country is still as good as it gets. Ten minutes of watching CNN will convince you of that.

So, with Fourth of July just days away, I am preparing to head to the beach with my family in tow and celebrate with gusto the freedoms that we have been blessed with. I will get goose bumps at the sight of white summer porches covered with waving American flags.

 I will smile at the young kids who took hours to decorate their bikes for the parade. I will feel great pride and appreciation when our veteran soldiers march by. I will sit on the Jersey beach and watch the fireworks shoot into the sky over the dark ocean and dream of a day when the entire world will share in the freedoms that Americans have. And that a peacefulness like we've never known will surround us. See my Irish friend, I do dream big.

Photos supplied by ImageGoogle

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