The summers of my youth always included a journey to Maryland. Metro trips to the Smithsonian were mandatory and with great fondness I recall the conveyor belt burgers at the Air and Space Museum. Memories as thick as the DC air in the summer time, fill my head as I again sleep beneath this roof.
Chasing fireflies, wiffle ball games and that very unique smell of the basement in my grandparents’ house, are the strongest such recollections of the old days. Later, my fascination with liberty took me to the national archives where the great, green, glass, vessels contain THE Declaration of Independence, the constitution and, as I recall, a copy of the Magna Carta. With the words of Thomas Jefferson in mind and the marches of Sousa in ear I felt connected to those tri tip hat adorned fellows from way back in 76.
Of course later I learned the story was not so simple. That, as do we all, those men and women fabled in American lore had darkness within as well as the light of liberty. I mean, you know, to write of freedoms and oppression while concurrently owning humans is a bit, well, ridiculous. Shortcomings should not be ignored, and the ideals of the “great experiment” I would argue, have been lost to greed, thirst for power and in many cases stupidity. My grandmother, I think, would agree that to some extent, America has lost its way.
Now, in what sense America has left the path, and how to get back to it are two topics which she and I have very different opinions on. In point of fact, most of my family and I are at very different sides of the political spectrum. In spite of these differences, there is no love lost. The roots of Ardis and I go back to North Dakota, Minnesota and before that, the frozen shores of Norway and Sweden. There is little doubt that those Andersons and Carlsons of old argued about all measure of political bric-a-brac, yet they remained family. Blood was thicker than water and to my great happiness it remains so.
I leave the country tonight and I shall not set foot upon these shores again until April. It is my hope, that upon my return I find this nation less embattled by madness and greed. I hope to return to a land once again dedicated to the proposition that all who inhabit it, are created equal. I hope that when I return I find my grandmother to be just as sharp, funny and well as she is now. She is the matriarch of the Hart clan, long may she reign!
Also I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the hospitality and generosity of my Aunts Penny and Donna and my Uncle Eric. The latter two I am only now, in my 30’s, getting to know. Thank you generous hosts!
North America! Continents 1