Happy 4th of July!


Happy Independence Day everyone! I’m not on the ranch this week *gasp*, I’m actually on a trip with the family to Branson, Missouri. I’m pretty sure there’s more shows and attractions in this Ozarks town than any other place on earth. It’s not but maybe once a year when my dad volunteers to take a couple of days off work, so I’m taking advantage of the excuse to act like a kid again and pester all four of my brothers and sisters. Stay tuned for photos.

What does Independence Day mean to you? When I think about it, I think of our Nation’s heritage, and the values our country’s founders had in mind when they wrote our Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. Sometimes I wonder where those values have gone over the last 235 years.

One of my fondest 4th of July memories, wasn’t even spent with an American. Well, there were plenty of Wyoming folk there, but I had the opportunity to run in a Pony Express ride and the Ten Sleep parade with Katy Jane, who happens to be from England (and here I thought we had freed ourselves from the British?!?).

The lil town of Hyattville is nestled at the foot of the Big Horns, and down a lil dirt road is the town of Ten Sleep. Both towns with great histories and heritage in the ranching business. Each year the towns have great 4th of July celebrations which include a reenactment of the Pony Express ride between the two towns, a parade, and rodeo. I had the opportunity to ride a mile in the Pony Express route, carrying the mail bag, handoff and everything. So much great food and such a great time with the locals. It’s great to see this country’s heritage being kept alive. I won’t be there for this year’s parade, but Katy Jane gets to ride again. I might be a lil jealous. Rather than just talking all about it, I’ll just share a few photos.

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In the handoff photo, Katy Jane is tellin me to “get to runnin” as she hands me the mail bag. In the parade as we passed the announcer’s booth, they introduced the Pony Express riders by saying “We have a few international riders this year, one from England and another from some foreign place called Arkansas”

How do you celebrate our Independence Day?

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1 Comment

  1. FOR THE FOURTH
    BY CARYL VELISEK
    7 – 04 – 08

    Living here in Frederick County Maryland, one can’t help but hear echos of the past of our great country. There is evidence all over the city of Frederick of the Revolution that freed our country from British rule and I am within walking distance of the cemetary where Francis Scott Key, the composer of our National Anthem, is buried. I can glance through the gates as I frequently drive by and see the imposing statue within, built to his memory.
    And if I really want to get close to that legendary event and see. in my mind, those “bombs bursting in air” and the flag still flying “o’er the Land of the Free, and the Home of the Brave” at Fort McHenry, I can be at Baltimore Harbor in an hour.
    Maryland is a part of the seat of freedom in our country, The state that was so sure freedom would prevail that it started building its capitol before the Revolution had even been pronounced a victory.
    Freedom is at its core, its very heart and soul.
    I feel very patriotic living here where so many patriots trod and lived and died.
    But at this 4th of July, more than 200 years after the last bomb burst over Fort McHenry on that fateful day, I want to tell you about a little town called Catonsville, and a custom so tied to what America is, that I want you to know about it.
    First of all, this town is adjacent to the Baltimore beltway, and if you read the newspapers and listen to the news, you know Baltimore, with all its truly wonderful culture and varied attractions, is not the safest city in the country. In fact, the murder rate has become alarming.
    I am not writing this to dwell on that but to tell you a little story about Catonsville you probably are not aware of.
    Catonsville is a small town attached to the city but not really of it, although it is often considered a suburb. It’s a town of home owners like my oldest son, a former cattleman, and his wife, and their neighbor across the way who is a retired agriculture teacher.
    It’s a quiet little town except for the music. It is sometimes known as “the guitar capital of Maryland”. There are numerous music stores that carry a huge variety of guitars and other musical paraphernalia, and an outdoor theater, The Lurman, where Blue Grass, Blues, Jazz, Rock and Folk concerts are held on warm summer weekends, and a town where local groups get together and jam all during the year..
    It’s the town of the Catonsville Nine, a group of nine Viet Nam War protesters led by two priests, brothers, Phillip and Daniel Berrigan, who destroyed draft records one infamous day and went to jail for their beliefs.
    But the most amazing thing to me is this little known phenomenon of ‘the chairs’.
    Catonsville has holiday parades and celebrations throughout the year, just as many small towns all across America do, many, if not most of them a part of some patriotic holiday or event.
    Days, sometimes even weeks, before an event is to take place, you can ride down the main thoroughfare, Frederick Road, and see lawn chairs of various styles and value, placed all along the curbsides by their owners, in anticipation of the next parade. There are hundreds of them in every available space, and never more so than for the 4th of July parade.
    I find it phenomenal in this day and age of so much crime and vandalism, of muggings and murder, that these chairs remain unguarded and untouched, and are ready for their occupants when the next parade occurs,
    To me, it’s a wondrous sight. The essence of what our country and our freedom is all about.
    Small town America lives, not just in rural areas in the midwest, but right here in the populous mid-Atlantic region, right outside Baltimore!
    Let Freedom Ring!! And God Bless America!!
    END

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