Red, white, and definitely blue

To repent for this week’s chocolate ice cream intake, I chose an extra dose of walking as my medicine this weekend.

An abundance of sunshine and a lack of mosquitoes made the nearby sparkling bodies of water a perfect choice.

And Minnesota has a lot of them.

We’re known as the ‘Land of 10,000 Lakes’, but it’s actually more like 21,000 depending on who’s counting.

But I’m not.

I was just looking for peace and fresh air out on the trails.

And peace is found pretty easily on 4th of July weekends as most in my area go ‘up north’ to their family cabins.

I don’t have one, but that’s fine with me.

It seems I’m a contrarian.

Who wants to sit in traffic on the state highways like a swarm of bumbling bees anyway?

So placing a camera in my left hand and my pup Rex in the right, I went in search of my own version of the red, white and blue.

And the color blue was Saturday’s first radiant gift found in the form of flowers.

It seemed as if Mother Nature had favored blue as her hue, softly brushing the summer landscape in front of her with it’s softer shades.

Then early today we covered new ground and noticed some sweet smelling white blossoms had been added.

They felt soft to the touch, much like the blue petals.

And they were swaying gently in the cool morning breeze.

Rex and I were both excited.

That is until I felt a stabbing pain in my left foot.

It was in the heel.

And I was limping.

It was definitely slowing down my pace.

And unfortunately I had chosen a longer path at dawn as we still needed to find a perfect display of red.

I told Rex to lead me on.

Except for occasionally confusing his reds with with his greens, Rex finally found some.

And also a bench where we could rest.

We sat and admired the floral fireworks display before us for a while.

Eventually we rose to slowly walk the last mile.

We soon heard guitar music in the distance over by the swimming beach.

As we got closer, we took another break on a grassy knoll to see what was going on.

An older man began to talk just, just as Rex decided to mud wrestle.

“Hey boy, it’s a church service,” I said as we both quickly sat up.

The preacher spoke of finding peace for our souls this holiday weekend, and having no regrets.

Afterwards I turned to Rex and said, ” I believe we found peace this weekend in spite of that pain in my sole. No regrets, buddy. Agreed?”

I’d like to think he nodded.

But maybe he was just praying for another piece of rawhide.

Joy Lesson 101

It started with a photograph taken of my sister and me last week.

She’s four years older, but in the picture she looks four years younger.

And it sure looks like I’m wearing one face full of stress.

So it got me wondering over breakfast if I might need a joy make over.

But looking at my watch, I left pondering there on my plate so I could quickly catch up with my grandkids at the kiddie parade in town.

Grabbing Mom’s old red, white and blue ribboned hat, I soon found my little Gang of Four.

The youngest immediately commandeered the old hat, and now was dressed with a smile.

He could share his sister’s bliss who was already twirling in her red dress for the event, admiring the blue sky overhead.

And an older brother, equally proud, was excitedly showing off a carefully selected blue t-shirt and red socks for the occasion.

We began to walk hand in hand with all the other children and dogs. Our chaperones were Uncle Sam, Betsy Ross, Mickey, and Minnie.

We waved our balloons in the air and flags at the smiling townspeople on their front steps. And they waived back.

My tiny joy filled companions then greeted all with a high pitched “Happy Fourth of July!”

The kids were thrilled with each special greeting received in return.

The smiles continued as they munched red, white and blue bread slathered with peanut butter and cherry jelly.

And the bomb pops and cupcakes made the day even sweeter.

Could it be that joy is just that simple?

When I got in the car, I glanced in the mirror.

I think I looked a little bit younger.

I do know for sure I was smiling a lot more.