“Don’t Tread on Me”

One of the things that has defined the American spirit and character since the first Europeans arrived here is our independence.  In order to be the pioneers we are in almost everything, we have to be willing to go it alone…sort of.

Sure, there are those misanthropic types who have struck out into the wilderness with nothing but what they could carry and lived their lives of adventure and loneliness.  The trappers and mountain men of the early 1800’s are good examples.  Many of them, however, were discovered some time later as frozen corpses or piles of bones left by the bears and coyotes and vultures.  But, hey, they didn’t need anybody.

From the time I was quite young, I wanted to be independent; to be able to take care of myself; stand on my own two feet; provide for myself.  I worked, learned how to cook and sew and clean, and planned for continued growth.  All by myself.  Hardly.

I had teachers everywhere I turned.  I had a home to which I could return if things got bad.  No matter where I was or what happened, I could always call my parents or my brothers or my good friends, and I knew someone would be there to help, and, boy, have I needed help!

For forty years I was extremely fortunate to have a wife to help me be “independent.”  When I was away either at my job or going to school (again), she was at home with our sons, taking care of them and our home.  When I came home, it was to a well-kept place and good meals and sons who were growing into fine young men.  I was permitted time to work and enjoy “the fruits of my labor.”

Now my sons are living their own lives and, unfortunately, I do have to take care of myself.  I’m an independent old cuss.

When I got up out of my warm bed this morning, the furnace was running.  The lights came on at the flick of a switch.  I had hot water by turning the tap.  Before long it was snowing big, wet flakes and blowing a gale, so the street was about three inches deep in a short time.  Right after I returned from the gym, the county snowplow came by and cleared the public street in front of the house.  The mail carrier came by and delivered today’s advertisements, a note from a former student, and the bill for my cable.

Yes, sir.  I am a typical, independent, 21st century American.  Damn, that reminds me…I need to make an appointment with my accountant so he can do my taxes.

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