Hat dance

On Monday I posted a whole bunch of images from The Wedding Trip. Sharp-eyed readers noticed a cowboy hat riding on our Silverado’s dash, a hat that found its way onto my head for The Joyous Occasion. Since I didn’t (and won’t) post photos from the wedding itself, some may be wondering if the affair had a western theme.

It didn’t.

I was the only guest dressed that way — head-to-toe, bolo tie to boots. I decided long ago that I’d never again wear a necktie, so in mid-August, with Deb’s help, I picked out my stepfather-of-the-groom attire at a western-wear shop up in Springfield, Missouri.

It felt just right.

I fielded lots of compliments on Saturday, but that’s not why I did it. I simply made my own choice. To help explain why, I’ll share a story.

As you may remember, I was married once before. (Before I met Deb, that is.) At that informal 1982 wedding, the bride wore a white peasant dress. I sported black jeans, a white v-neck sweater, a black “Members Only” jacket, black boots and a Panama hat.

On our first anniversary my parents presented us with an oil painting done from a photo of the then-happy couple, the sort of service that Lazarus department stores used to provide. Thing is, only one of us appeared in the image.

My own parents had me painted out of it. They disapproved of my long hair and the way I was dressed.

No, that didn’t scar me. It didn’t leave me with a burden that I try to pass off onto others. But the experience did show me something.

It confirmed that I was on the right track. To this day I chart my own course. I think it’s entirely appropriate here to invoke the words of John Galt:

“The world will change when you are ready to pronounce this oath: ”I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.'”

Liberty is a birthright. Independence is a choice. Escaping manipulation and toxicity requires intent and, most important, action.

It’s a set of principles informing everything I do. And that, dear readers, explains my cowboy getup.

For sanity’s sake, Deb and I returned to The Mountain late this morning. It was a pleasant enough autumn day, weather-wise, and with the possibility of more rain this weekend we wanted to get a brief visit in today.

We were a little productive, at least, while we were there. Using a pick-mattock, a shovel and gloved hands, we cut back an annoying berm on the Ranger trail to the summit. We took down three small trees to give us a bit more-run-off room in a couple of turns, too, the first outing for Deb’s new electric chain saw. I re-aimed the upper trailcam and scattered some deer corn in that area.

Sitting in folding chairs near the summit afterward, munching on snacks we’d brought, the rustle of wind in the trees was punctuated by another sound — to us, a welcome sound. The unmistakable crack of Liberty echoed down the valley.

Here’s a brief video capturing what we heard.

I believe I’ll leave you with that today. ‘Merica.

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

#WiseUp #LibertyOrDeath

#LetsGoBrandon #FJB