Wednesday, July 07, 2010

The 4th

A few years ago I bought a book called The American Songbook by Carl Sandburg. This is a book of songs, mostly regional, collected around the country. I would guess the period is 1900-1930ish. Many of them are work songs, poverty songs, love songs, you name it. Most are also gone from the public discourse now, thanks I guess to progress such as Clear Channel and the ipod. Carl Sandburg himself had about a hundred different kinds of jobs and roamed the country himself, and recognizes that these songs tell stories and have meaning to the people singing them.

Incidentally, this is the country I really dig, and the country I celebrate on the 4th. It is a country of people, and a country of many smaller communities. Sometimes I will quip that it is not one big country at all.

So who are these people and where are these places?
A Glen Beck conservative living in the back of his civil war relic shop trying to make it through this depression.
Eddy the mover with whom I worked in 1990 in Omaha, who can pack a moving van waaaaay overweight.
The schoolteacher/racing deckhand, living in a tent on an island all summer, when she's not crewing.
The Blues-loving harmonica-playing college professor.
Cornucopia - crazy tiny granola town on Lake Superior, WI.
The surprisingly hot 50+ triathlete in Indiana.
The couple trying to get themselves completely off the grid by raising cows, sheep, chickens, rented corn, and vacation log cabins on their tiny hobby farm.
The raw dairy creamery with the Amish girl wo-manning the register.
The CSA lady sifting manure in her Keen sandals.
Folks living in Jackson, Wyoming with no career and little vision for the future, simply because they love the mountains.
Green Corn, an agoraphobic blue sky, and a stripe of asphalt off to the horizon.
Old men and their hot rods.
Old women and their knitting.
Contrarians on single speed mountain bikes.
San Francisco.
Delta Blues, Harlem Jazz, Bluegrass.

We live in a great spot on the world with lots of great folks. Get out and see them. Get out and see it. Let's not let the crisis cloud our vision about the good things.

No comments: