We are blessed to live in rural America

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“Fireworks bring us together to celebrate all that we have, our many gifts as a free nation.”

— Pearl Tinus, 1955

No matter how old we grow to be, bring out an amazing fireworks display and each of us lights up like a child in the depths of summer vacation.

Last night, we were once again blessed to spend an incredible evening with good friends at the home of our neighbors, Mike and Mini. Year after year, their Fourth of July party grows to the point of making us think there is no way that next year can top this one. And each year, we come away with even more great memories and a feeling of amazement.

As the colorful party unfolded, the disc jockey began playing great music, and dozens of children in the crowd were thrilled to move to the “chicken dance” whenever they heard the familiar tune strike up. The weather provided a perfect backdrop, as the stars were out in the night sky and a nice northern breeze cooled things down just right.

Surrounded by kind neighbors

We bought this farm four years ago, and moving here where we are surrounded by incredibly kind, fun, helpful neighbors has been a bonus we didn’t fully expect. We were moving away from a neighbor who had made our once-tranquil lives frighteningly unpredictable, and all we were really hoping for was to be left in peace.

A couple of weeks ago, while working on our first crop hay, the kicker baler began experiencing some temperamental issues. It wasn’t long before a neighbor heard about the troubles and came driving up our long drive to offer help. He brought his baler and a couple of boys who were ready to load the small bales on to flat wagons.

With the threat of several days of rain looming in the forecast, it was like racing the clock to get this great crop of first cutting put up. Before the afternoon was out, we had two balers running and a great cast of characters helping to get it all put up in the barn. The neighbor who pitched in to help was glad to have a share of the hay to take back to his dairy farm at the end of the day.

Way of life

It is the way life was for those of us who came of age on family farms years ago, a time when neighbors never gave a second thought to helping one another, and adults looked out for all of the children, no matter who they belonged to.

Picnics in the summer brought us all together, and quite often card parties or community club kept the neighborly ties strong throughout the long, cold winters.

Can’t put into words

Putting in to words the feeling I had last night as I laughed with friends I hadn’t talked with in far too long, or later, as I hugged a tiny little girl who asked me to help her find her mama, is a bit hard to do.

It is the feeling of being blessed to live in rural America where ties with good neighbors remain strong. It is, for us, a wonderful healing after having experienced living in an opposite environment in our other home. It was a lovely place, and I did not want to leave it, but there is no amount of money that can buy peace of mind along with the feeling of safety and sanctity in your community. Neighbors make up the frame that holds memories in the making.

Last night, gathered under that summertime sky to watch a brilliant fireworks display, I felt that happiness of a full heart blessed with everything that is good.

Surrounded by friends and neighbors and joyous shouts of amazement, I realized there was no place in the world I would rather be than right there, right then.

Proud to be an American

There was also that rush of pride and happiness to be an American, where we all are free to be exactly where we want to be at any given moment. There is no feeling quite like it.

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Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, in college.

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