Ours is an extraordinary country, great and good, exalted and plebeian, devout and corrupt all at once.
Tear down our cities, a wise man said once, and they will spring up anew from the prairies. Destroy our farms, and grass will grow in the streets of every city in America.
Is there life enough in the old America to revive the new? ¿Quién sabe?
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You lived above the Merry-Go-Round? And still have your hearing? Lucky man.
Thanks, Gerard...this was worth waiting for.
Well granted there is a Monorail at the Detroit Airport, but it is a mile long. Kind of a long way to hoof it if you are running late.
Missed you these last few weeks
I was going to enter a comment with here a SMUG and SUPERIOR attitude about these reports! But I forgot what I was going to say. Still,remember, no matter what you encounter or how the political tide of the country turns, I KNOW BETTER than the rest of you!
Yes, yes, can't wait for your reports on all of us living in the hinterlands of the country. But what I really want to know is: How's Lois? You fellows haven't taken her boa away yet, have you? If so, tell her to call me...
This is one I missed - what a beauty.
As most people who don't live on the coasts realize, the primary difference between people who live in cities and the rest of the country is that people who live in cities don't think there's any difference. In the intervening three years since you wrote this, this disconnect has grown truly toxic.
God, I love this country. Thanks.
The love you have for your country is as intense as the one I have for mine. And rarely a day goes by when I don't check the laughs, loves and patterns of this England and know that what the papers, politicians and blogging talking heads keep trying to say represents only a fraction of the intensity of every day life and rarely dents the beauty, non vox pop people and history I see all around me. When you wake up and hear church bells ringing strongly in the heart of a section of liberal London (Islington) you know life is still grand. God I love my country. And I had the pleasure of enjoying a roadtrip around yours, the very areas you describe only earlier this year. It was wonderful. Thanks for putting things in perspective, oddly not just on your side of the globe.
Beautiful. For so many reasons.
"After the dance, Waffle Houses along Route 26 will fill up with costumed, exhausted dancers, their endorphins convincing them that, for this night at least, they are probably immortal."
Haven't been there in a very long time.
Ah yes, only the wealthy can enjoy our coastlines year-round now. I commented to a similar post of yours on that issue that my grandparents were probably of the last generation of working/middle class folks who could live by the sea. I was always glad for the Jersey shore in October and November.
George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr., one of many that make America great, eponymously invented that wheel.
I hadn't read this one before, Gerard. I believe you may have written a classic American piece that will still hold true for many years to come.
I do love it when you write like this, you paint pictures with words that I can see and feel.
You can't help but love this crazy imperfect country if you get off of your butt and out of your comfort zone and really see it, meet all the loons that call it home.
This is one of the best travelogues I have read in a long time. It inspires hope. Turning off all those coastal city voices helps a lot, too.
Beautiful and moving essay Gerard. It rekindles my faith in this country. Stuck as I am in the big city, it's easy to forget how big the rest of it is. Thanks.
Yes, only the wealthy may now live by the sea. But let Japan be a reminder that at any time the sea may rise up to smite those who live on her shores. In most cases it is not chance, but an inevitability. Come storm or tsunami, the sea does not forgive.
The primary mistake that Americans make is conflating Patriotism: love of country, with Nationalism, worship of the State.
As Buchanan points out
"From Jamestown in 1607 to Yorktown in 1781, there was no federal government. There was no United States. Yet generations of colonists had built forts, cleared lands, created farms, established workshops. Americans fed, clothed and housed themselves, creating one of the highest standards of living on earth for 3 million people.
How could the U.S. government have built the roads and bridges if the U.S. government did not exist before 1789? There were no public schools until the 19th century. Colleges were the creations of religious denominations. The Pell grant had not yet been invented."
The State is the vampire around the Patria's neck.