Country Whispers

Country Ramblins in Red

Happy 4th of July2014
by Tamara Hillman

July snuck up on me since I have had my nose buried in some indoor summer projects for a month now. In Arizona, summer is in reverse of winter for you folks up North. We hibernate indoors out of the heat like you hibernate in winter out of the cold. Its only 4 months of misery here, and then we are rewarded with eight months of heavenly, moderate weather…But don’t tell anyone! We wanna keep it all to ourselves now that we’ve arrived!

July has one of my favorite celebrations tucked within its thirty-one days; Independence Day—the day we celebrate our nations freedom from kingship-rule, and dominance over her people to adhere to strict choices, (not their own) about religion, taxation, schooling, etc., being forced upon them in the Motherland. Our forefathers fought extremely hard and long in the late 1700’s losing their land, riches, and too many times—their very lives to break free of England, and truly establish a society run by the people to govern with their vote what they thought best for themselves in this new country called America.

It saddens me to see young people of college age being asked on the street by TV program announcers (both political and comic) what the 4th of July represents, and they haven’t got a clue! They mostly think it’s just a summer holiday to lay on the beach with their friends, and drink plenty of beer. This is the result of NOT teaching American history in our schools to recent past and future generations.

4th of July Posse

Oh how I remember what Independence Day meant in the 50’s when I was growing up. Wow! It meant a parade with all the servicemen who could still fit into their military uniforms marching down our main street along with their Legionnaire Club buddies, and the Sheriff’s posse on horseback riding by proudly with flagpoles stuck in a saddle mount stirrup holder to wave ‘OLD GLORY’. There were balloons shining brightly on colorful carts, (I especially remember our close neighbor, Dave Johnson and his son Wayne, driving a cart decorated in red, white & blue being pulled by their two Shetland ponies who liked to bite), flatbed trucks with lots of kids too small to march sitting on hay bales holding the hands of older siblings and waving small flags passed out before the procession began, and fire trucks tooting their horns in celebration as they slowly drove down the middle of the street hearing cheers from the exuberant crowd lining both sides. It meant Boy Scout, Cub Scout, Girl Scout, and Brownie troops following along in step to the school band playing military marches, and kids in any number of costumes they could gather together (as long as they were in bright red, white, & blue colors) pulling their dog in a wagon, etc., while parents, grandparents and siblings cheered and clapped on the sidelines as they passed by. I’ll never forget how hats were taken off men’s bowed heads, and hearts were crossed with right hands by every single person, young & old, as the flag passed by.

And after the big parade, there was always a picnic at Beaver Creek Camp Grounds, (we had no city park back then) where soldiers of not so long ago could swap war stories and tales of their deeds overseas to keep this and other countries free of cruel dictatorships and worse as they ate fried chicken and potato salad, homemade ice cream, and the like with their families. And yes, there usually was a keg or two of beer being tapped during the afternoon.

Many times, my family headed for Black Pine Lake, or Poplar Flats after the parade to join other friends and relatives in the high country out of the heat of our valley in hot July for a great big picnic of our own, and maybe even get in some fishin’ in the lake or stream we’d always settle nearby. We kids were always up for wading in the creeks, or coolin’ off in the lake. As we’d run off through the brush to get down to these shores, I can still hear our mothers shouting after us, “Stay on the trail, and watch out for snakes, (rattlers) along the way!”

My personal family usually consisted of our “Gang of Five” kids made up of us three and our two first cousins, (our mom’s were sisters.) We have scads of pictures of those outings, and can reminisce for hours about what fun times we had, but most of all, we knew what this day meant to our great nation, and men & women who fought and died for her!!! Our own fathers were WW11 veterans.

Of course, there was always more than just the 4th of July to celebrate in the month since it was considered high summer with hot days and lots of lemonade, cool aid, and iced tea to sip on the front porch with grandma in her rocker fanning herself with a magazine she’d kept nearby while helping Mom & Aunt Aggy snap beans or shell peas from the garden as they visited on those ‘dog days of summer’ while we kids silently milled around learning our family history at their knee. If we interrupted their talking, we were sent off to entertain ourselves playing elsewhere since in those days, adults were respected, and not interrupted unless an arm or leg was hangin’ half off one of us, and needed their attention. (Oh, do I long for those same rules now with modern day, spoiled rotten, rude, little brats who dominate every conversation, at any and all gatherings.) Grrrrrrrrrr!

But I digress….

Yes, July is a great month to enjoy the fruits of our labors from the garden, see the wheat fields & alfalfa crops sway in the soft breeze just before mowing time, and run barefoot and free in this great country we were lucky to be born and raised in…

God Bless America ‘cause we’re losin’ her!!!

Granny Tam

Here’s a patriotic poem  for ya;

4th of July Parade

4th of July  in purple and red.

Liberty Bell


On the 4th of July—
Independence Day,
folks used to celebrate
in their own special way.

It’s not the same now,
there’s no joy, or great pride
as ‘Old Glory’ is carried
to honor who died.

Have we forgotten
how America began—
giving freedom and spirit
to every man?


Our forefathers risked
all that they had—
their lives were threatened,
they were called bad.

But they forged ahead
fighting King-rule—
Great Britain they’d left
to be no body’s fool.

A revolution incurred
against taxes they spurned
because King George the 3rd
wanting all that they earned.

God was their guide
in plans they then struck—
their goals not entrusted
to egos, or luck.

They fought to be FREE,
keep America strong.
Now tell me, my friend,
was that oh, so wrong?

How can we forget
what those settlers gave;
“Land of the Free”—
“Home of the Brave?”

It’s not a cliché,
it’s not just by chance,
not to be wasted,
but to honor—enhance.

So, open your eyes—
don’t take for granted
lives that were lost,
seeds that were planted.

We all benefit
from the future it brings,
when we remember our past,
and let Freedom ring.


Tamara Hillman

Enjoy Independence by Tamara Hillman

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