OPINION

September Journey with Phyllis Buell

Syracuse Journal-Democrat

This Remarkable Land and People

The word “Independence” held more meaning than ever before this July 4th , didn’t it?

I know I truly appreciated the fact I could actually go where I pleased – when I pleased.

I still have the sensation I am “missing” something when I walk out of my door without wearing a mask. Staff here still wears a mask and we have our temperature and blood oxygen taken twice a day. I have no idea how long that will continue.

Perhaps that is necessary because some staff and some residents chose not to be vaccinated against the Covid virus.

We truly don’t know a lot about the vaccine yet. How long will protection last? Will it keep us safe from the “new” variant?

Personally, I choose to rely on what we do know. I’m glad I have the independence it has given me back in my life – however long or short that may be.

Murdock’s Independence Day celebration was bigger and better than ever before this year. The sleepy little town was inundated with people anxious to celebrate and enjoy the freedom we didn’t have last 4th of July.

Viewers of every age lined the “downtown” streets of Murdock, waiting for the parade. Some “mobility challenged” viewers remained in their vehicles parked close to the parade route. In other words, people that might be deemed elderly.

Merle always had a certain spot he wanted me to park so he could watch the procession. Over the years, friends would look for our car and come to visit with him.

This year, a young man that grew up across the section from our farm was there. He has become a nurse.

Paul Murdock stopped to visit for a couple of minutes with me. He would often stop in to visit for a few minutes when we were still on the farm. I know what a blessing he is to his patients. Paul is a very special young man. Even if you aren’t sick, you feel better after a conversation with him.

It has been a tradition a tankful of free watermelon ends the parade. Somehow, I missed that this year. I was told the tradition continued. I must have left too soon.

There is just something pure “American” about a crowd of children rushing to be sprayed down by the local firetrucks. And – there was plenty of apple pie and ice cream for all in the church basement. Local organizations provided a noon dinner and what rural dwellers choose to call supper in the firehouse.

Politicians running for office, cheer squads, champion ball teams, Miss Elmwood – hoping to be the next Miss Cass County, antique cars and tractors, local heroes that staff the ambulances and firetrucks – vehicles polished to perfection paraded down “main” street.

And – children with sacks and buckets, waiting for the candy everyone tossed to the crowd. It was all there in that 11 o’clock parade – rural America at it’s best!

The traditional planned display of fireworks was missing this year. I’m not sure of the reason. I heard several versions – as you do in a small town.

My personal independence is clearly on the horizon now. In a few days, I will be returning to Elmwood. I’ve got to get packed!

Hope your 4th of July was a good one. After all, we had to make up for the one we missed.