Sunday, October 27, 2013

It's in my blood... American Exceptionalism.

I may be one of the few that's left... a shrinking minority... a man who still believes that the United States of America is exceptional. My friend, Matt, over at Jerking the Trigger recently posted a link to a video of Greg Medford speaking at a gathering of employees and friends at Medford Knife and Tool. It reminded me of why America is still exceptional... because we are more than just a geographically defined land mass... we are a group of diverse people who live in a nation founded by a Declaration of Independence and on a Constitution that spells out and protects the rights of man given by God, our creator. Sadly, I believe many folks have forgotten where we came from, how we got here, and where we should be heading.

Pappy, my brother, and... me.
My great grandfather had five boys who grew up on the farm. They made their own way, worked through the tough times of the Great Depression farming, selling milk, building homes, doing various jobs as necessary and as they could. They took care of their family, their friends, their community, and their country. Some served in World War II while folks like my grandfather farmed and worked in the steel mills along the Ohio River to help produce the raw material that continued to build our country.

I have great memories of my grandfather, "Pappy" as everyone called him.  Maybe those memories are inflated, almost legendary in my recollection, but he was a good man, a strong man, a manly man. He worked hard... in fact I'm not sure he knew how to not work hard. Ask anyone who's had dairy cows about getting up every morning, working every day in a labor intensive job, then working each night to keep the farm going. He could make, fix, or build just about anything... and he and my grandmother gardened, butchered beef, and provided for most of their own needs.

He still found time to have fun and do things with his family, friends, and grand-kids. I think I tend to live a lot like he did... I saw it in my mother too... a hard working lady who could cook, sew, and change a disposal under the sink or build just about anything she set her mind to. She put herself through college, married, and had two boys of her own, still working daily tutoring math as a volunteer in our local schools at almost eighty years of age. She can't stop past our house without doing some kind of work around here. Heck, we almost have to have some odd job lined up for her or she won't stay to visit very long.

The gals and I are pretty self-sufficient and can do just about anything we set our minds to and if we can't figure it our or have the right equipment... we have good friends and neighbors who probably have what we don't... so we help each other out like friends and neighbors should.  That is something that's not lost out here in the country.  I know my neighbors that live a half-mile away better than a lot of city and suburban folks know their neighbors that live forty-feet away from them.

Folks, we're headed for some rough times ahead... there's know doubt about it. We can't borrow our way out of it forever and at some point it's going to come down to fending for yourselves, your families, your friends, your community, and your country. I don't think endless growth is sustainable and while we may not have a total collapse... I believe we're at least heading for a "constriction" of our country's economy and general life-style. It's time to skip a few soccer games, occasionally turn off the TV and Facebook, and spend some quality time with the ones you love... building skills, knowledge, capabilities, supplies, and relationships that are real, practical, and meaningful.

We may not be as exceptional as we once were, but we have the foundation to be more exceptional than any place else on earth... if folks are willing to step up, take personal responsibility for themselves and their families, acknowledge reality, and move forward... looking towards a future.  THAT is why places like Medford Knife and Tool are prospering in tough times... that is why Pappy's legacy lives on generations later... and that is why my gals and I will do fairly well no matter what our circumstances are. We're not invested in and our worth is not found in things, but in folks.

What can I say... It's in my blood... American Exceptionalism.


  1. Thank you for the reminder. I've just discovered your blog and enjoy your thoughts and wisdom.

    From Central CA

    1. Thanks you for the kind words... I hope you stop by again...

      Dann in Ohio

    2. I'm working through your blog present to past so my comments may seem out of place at times.