Putting away Christmas has always messed with my emotions.
I could say this year was especially difficult but on second thought, it was no different than decades of Christmases that came before.
Prior holidays ended with the quiet of an empty house following the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day when our widespread family had filled our rooms and were on their way home.
This year we all did our best to adhere to the warnings of curtailing large gatherings of relatives and friends to avoid the spread of Covid-19. I trust I was not alone with my pensive feelings as holiday decorations, if they were even displayed, were reluctantly packed away.
But 2021 held promise.
The light at the end of the 2020 tunnel, the much awaited vaccine already being administered.
Six days into the New Year and an angry mob, which is putting it mildly, stormed the U.S. Capitol. By the end of the day it was difficult, if at times impossible, to wrap our thoughts around the violence.
There will be no editorializing here.
Rather in need of some downhome patriotism, the way it once was when our country was a baby, and while I knew it might take more to offset the turmoil in D.C., the finger pointing, the talking heads, the political commentators, I put “Johnny Horton, The Singing American” on the CD player.
And I blasted it.
Horton’s upbeat musical history helped to ease the sadness I felt putting away Christmas but what it mercifully provided was a relief from the dismay I felt regarding the state of affairs swirling around our country.
Perhaps a simple solution for the moment and right out of the living room speakers. America at its best.
The frontiersmen, the volunteer militiamen who, Horton croons, “In 1814 took a little trip along with General Jackson down the mighty Mississipp...”
A little trip my eye - over 500 miles south from Nashville to New Orleans, seriously outnumbered by the mighty British military...
“We fired our squirrel guns and they began to running down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico...”
I know, I know. It’s just a song. Not so dismissed by New Orleanians who on January 8 celebrated the 206th anniversary of the victory.
Track 2 and, “Young Abe Lincoln makes a tall, tall man,” whisks me through the early years of our 16th that may not have been noted in history books as are the lyrics in Horton’s tune but regardless, a reminder of who we were to become.”
“Johnny Freedom,” a patriotic symbol who needs no introduction on You Tube rather, “Met on each page of history, tossing tea in Boston Bay, braving the winter in the days of Valley Forge fighting side by side together with a fella name of George.”
It doesn’t stop there, now does it?
“When our country started growing and wagons headed west and our country called for pioneers, his name led all the rest.”
The song says it all, simply sure, but is that not the way we were.
“Johnny Freedom, you can meet him on each page of history, He’s the spirit of America our country’s pride and joy Hats off to Johnny Freedom, that’s our, that’s our boy..”
Our country’s history. It is not what we were but what we are and will continue to be. A history to to make us proud. It is not another place, another time. It is us. A history at times blemished. But a history none-the-less.
We should not for an instant doubt who we are.
The United States of America.