One helluva birthday

The pre-auction and pre-move whirlwind continues here at Second Chance Ranch. Spare moments are few and there’s precious little true downtime. We take advantage of every opportunity to pause and recharge, then plunge back into the work we have to do.

Time is running short.

We’ve had help. A great friend painted the foundation wall we’d had repaired and adjusted the walkout basement door. Today our younger boy and his fiancée, visiting again for the weekend, helped us make more progress on the storage unit and cleared out our pantry and cellar stock. That was huge.

After purging the last of our closet contents we ended up with another 17 enormous contractor bags stuffed with clothes and shoes, enough to fill the bed and the back seat of our Silverado. We dropped those off at Volunteers of America on Friday.

We also made another stop on our “farewell tour” — Schaffner’s Drive-In in nearby Baltimore, a quaint little eatery that’s been around almost as long as I have. While we were out on the road, and during a window created by the “pandemic” nonsense, they’d done a major overhaul of the place, and we were anxious to see what that looked like.

I’ll say this — the food and the ice cream are still great, typical old-school drive-in fare. I enjoyed my slaw dog, curly fries and shake. The bigger digs, expanded to include lots of indoor seating, will allow Schaffner’s to be a year-’round restaurant rather than just seasonal.

But it’s not the same experience. When they rebuilt, they robbed Schaffner’s of its character. Now it has all the charm of a furnished gymnasium.

It was a business decision, I know, and I respect that. Still, I think about places like the Dalton Dari-ette of my youth and Richwine’s Burgerville in Polson, Montana, both of which continue to operate in the traditional way — and honestly, that’s what Deb and I prefer.

I turned 65 years old yesterday. I awoke to find a sweet birthday tribute that Deb had posted on social media. Throughout the day friends sent messages and posted kind wishes of their own. It combined to remind me how truly fortunate I am.

I’m alive. I’m married to The Great Love of My Life. I’m a born-free American. I’m surrounded by wonderful friends of like mind. I’m a lucky guy.

The day ended at “Red, White & Bluestone” with Aaron Lewis headlining. There was no mistaking where we were — in a country that seems to be slipping away from its ideals, this was an island of The Real America, pride and patriotism everywhere we turned.

Deb and I were planted pretty much in the middle of the crowd — not in the front row, not way in the back — and that was the perfect place to be. Dozens of friends spotted us and came over to share hugs and handshakes, conversation and reminiscing. What’s more, I found myself smiling and nodding at virtually every t-shirt I saw — from “FJB” and “Let’s Go Brandon” to “Am I The Only One?” and “I Could Shit A Better President.”

Opening acts Bim Strawser (who did an amazing performance of our National Anthem), North to Nashville and Tyler Booth were right in line with the mood of the crowd.

Lewis himself wore a “FUJOE” hat and a shirt that read “Trust God Not Government.” From the moment he took the stage he projected passion and unapologetic Americanism, principles which Deb and I share.

To illustrate, here are a few videos we captured during the show.

If you scrolled on past those videos, stop — go back. Watch the third clip. It’ll take 13 minutes of your American Life. It’s important.

I don’t give the slightest damn if it offends you. Listen to what he had to say about the Left:

“They’re running this country into the fucking ground on purpose. What the fuck are we going to do about it? Are we gonna sit in our fucking happy little spaces and wait for fucking Superman to come and save us? Because this country’s gonna be gone — gone.”

From the back of the crowd came the chant, “U-S-A! U-S-A!” Lewis reacted without hesitating.

“Chanting ‘U-S-A’ ain’t gonna do a fucking thing!”

And he’s absolutely right. Near the end of his soliloquy he said,

“If we sit here and allow them to destroy the best country that has ever existed on the face of the earth, in the history of mankind, then we deserve to go down with the ship.

“I’ll tell you what — I ain’t goin’ down like that. I ain’t. I will run my fucking mouth until the day I die.”

Aaron Lewis speaks to me and he speaks for me. His rendition of “Am I The Only One?” that closed the show, fueled by the spirit of thousands of like-minded true Americans in front of him, was a performance for the ages.

Have you ever had the kind of day that nothing could screw up? It was like that. I can’t remember a better birthday.

On this “tweener” day that separates The Real Independence Day from the one most Americans celebrate, I want to talk about a couple of our Founders, two men who had crucial but very different roles — Thomas Paine and Samuel Adams.

I contend that Paine was the author of independence. His activism, expressed through pamphlets and other writings, did more to influence and inspire Patriots than any other voice, including much more famous Founders.

Samuel Adams was a rabble-rouser, a pot-stirrer, a revolutionary who not only spoke out but took action. He, like Paine, was a prolific writer, but he also founded the Sons of Liberty and participated in the Boston Tea Party (among other acts of sedition).

Conventional wisdom instructs that we must either pursue diplomacy or wage war, choosing between words and actions. I say that both are essential.

Without Common Sense there wouldn’t’ve been a Declaration of Independence. Without the Sons of Liberty there would’ve been no American Revolution.

There are very few “warrior poets” among us. We need to hold in equally high esteem those who wield the pen and those who smash the glass.

The enemies of Liberty already know that. We must learn it as well.

One year ago today we readied to celebrate Independence Day in a place we never imagined we’d visit, much less stay.

Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.

#WiseUp #LibertyOrDeath

#LetsGoBrandon #FJB