One of the treasures I found at my Grandma and Grandpa Neelly's house was a little book called We Love America: Simple Stories of American Living.
This isn't a book I remember my Grandma reading to us, but I loved the illustrations so I brought it home anyway.
On the inside cover, it says:
Janis Neelly from Your Sunday School Teacher
It's Grandma Neelly's handwriting, so it was really to my mom from her mom masquerading as her Sunday School teacher. (We moms are always wearing multiple hats, aren't we?)
This book has joined my other patriotic decorations from Flag Day to the 4th of July (and probably beyond, since there's not another holiday coming up right away).
Instead of it just sitting there and looking pretty, I picked it up the other day. And it truly does reflect simpler times, a time when it was cool to be patriotic.
The book "visits" different children and tells about their homes - everything from the "big city" to an "Indian pueblo."
It tells about life on the farm (you can click on the photos and they'll come up bigger so you can read the text):
And life on a ranch:
Things on the farm and the ranch are a little different these days. Hayrack rides are something we do at fall celebrations, not to bring the hay in. Around here, the cattle are rounded up with 4-wheelers, not horses.
Leisure time is spent differently also:
Kids today are much more likely to listen to their ipods instead of a radio or "watch" their music on MTV or CMT or youtube. Having a taffy pull or making candy from scratch is something a few of us may do at Christmas time, but it's not on most people's radar for "family fun."
And while the illustrations and the words make me nostalgic and cause me to reflect on days gone by, I love the ability to type the book's copyright "MCMXLI" into a search engine on the internet and discover it was 1941. (Yes, I could have searched the inner recesses of my mind for the Roman numeral knowledge I had in elementary school, but this was easier - and faster.)
As we celebrate the 4th of July today, it wouldn't hurt to take this sentiment to heart:
Happy 4th of July everyone!