by Kimberly A. Cook (Twitter@ WarriorTales)
Last Thursday I ran errands to several places I was not excited to visit; usually I’m a little more logistically together to avoid the pharmacy, grocery store, post office and gas station the day before a major holiday weekend. But life happens and I ended up at those busy spots.
Walking into the pharmacy waiting room it was packed with folks. They were serving number 298 and I was number 316. The digital message on the wall let me know I should expect to be served in 22 minutes.
Sitting down on a cushy bench, I decided to do what writers do best: observe. People watching is fascinating. Learned several things. Everybody was pretty orderly. The pharmacy folks slammed at the windows were being pleasant and taking time to chat with people, but getting the job done. The noise level was quiet.
Friends, relatives and hired drivers were helping each other out. It was pretty low-key. It struck me how with all the craziness in the news on our nation’s birthday eve, we may not be the most fashion forward folks all the time but, the majority of Americans are kind.
The experience made me keep my eyes open on the rest of my stops. A man held the door open for a lady with a large package. USPS counter workers told people to have a Happy Fourth.
The woman who pumped my gas, yes we do not pump our own gas in Oregon, was perky and friendly and had on a bright red shirt for the occasion. At the grocery store walking out I saw another shopper helping an elderly gentleman locate the employee who had checked him out earlier. Stranger helping stranger.
Heard on the news the Boston Pops even moved up their concert one day to be able to party and keep everyone safe too. Is this a great country or what? Got bad weather coming? Party first!
Perhaps those of us who have served in the military realize the special meaning of our national birthday since many times we have not been on U.S. soil to celebrate, and we know others serve as the nation plays.
It’s always a good idea to open our eyes, look around, see the bigger picture in the small everyday details and tell the stories. That’s what writers do.
“You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.”