Home Opinion Columnists Jeff Petersen's columns Being American means ‘I can’
Being American means ‘I can’
The Fourth of July is rapidly approaching. Buy fireworks stock. Yes, the Great Recession, or as I like to call it the Fair to Middlin’ Recession, has slapped us around like a bear going after a coon dog.
Still, despite pay cuts, pay freezes and banks paying .0000000001 percent interest on savings accounts, despite gas prices approaching $4 a gallon, despite that a postcard stamp now costs more than first-class mail did in 1999, most of us have our heads above water. Sure, the waves are high. Sure, we get a gulp of water with each breath. But we are surviving, maybe even thriving.
My favorite basketball coach, the late John Wooden, had only one weakness. He was a collector of maxims. He was a maxim hoarder.
One of his favorite maxims was, “If we magnified our blessings the same way we magnify our disappointments, we’d all be much happier.”
So now, I am through whining and moaning. I am donning the rose-colored glasses and looking on the bright side this Independence Day.
Being American means “I can.”
I can always look on the bright side of life like online bill paying (no stamps).
I can get to know my neighbors better and see what they have to borrow.
I can honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice to preserve our freedoms.
I can strive for a better job — or to do a better job where I am.
I can eat healthier foods, exercise so as to avoid eating hospital food.
I can learn something new every day, even if that is why it is not a good idea to skin a skunk.
I can greet each day with an attitude of gratitude, being thankful for the fragrance of sage after a thunderstorm and having food on the table, and potential food, the deer, eating my petunias.
I can be thankful for living in big sky country, on the edge of a vast wilderness, even if it does contain wolves.
I can be thankful for deafening silence — and for the sound of music, as long as it isn’t “The Sound of Music.”
I can be thankful for extremely remote places that even a 4x4 vehicle can’t reach.
I can watch the red-tailed hawks riding thermal currents.
I can enjoy frugal outdoor fun, watching birds and clouds practically for free.
Yes, despite the economy, despite a June so rainy that Vacation Bible Schools gave realistic ark-building lessons, despite health care being as expensive as gold but more tarnished, we live in a Grande part of the world.
Let the fireworks begin.