Land that I love

I have a new compact disc of patriotic songs from the heartland. I got it at a garage sale, so I can’t even tell you who made the recording. But it’s several choirs singing the old standard patriotic songs, with some songs in special arrangements.

What I’ve been doing is playing one of the cuts over and over again. I like it because it has this simple piano accompaniment that makes it sound like something you’d hear in a school gym for a vocal concert.

The song? “God Bless America.” It is the perfect music and lyrics to consider as I motor across the back roads and byways on the way home from school. “From the mountains, to the prairies. . .” This is a beautiful time of year on our gently rolling prairies. The corn is up just enough to see the rows clearly in our rich black soil. The pastures are turning light green, and everything is new and fresh and growing. The creeks run full as they wind their way through the woods and pastures.

We don’t have any “oceans bright with foam,” as the song goes, but I’d put our prairies and pastures up against them any day for beauty.

“God bless America, land that I love. . .” seems to fit perfectly with the vistas on the gently rolling Iowa landscape that surrounds me as I drive along. It probably has something to do with the fact it’s spring now, not our winter that was frozen and harsh and long and cold. I recall wondering to myself just who wouldn’t like to live here on a day like today, as a matter of fact.

Do you ever have one of those times when what you see every day is suddenly more vivid and prettier, somehow fuller and means more than you’ve ever noticed it to before? Well, that is what’s going on with me.

Recently on an evening national newscast the topic of our miserably high gas prices was on tap, of course. One commuter bemoaning the situation lives in the Chicago area. She said her daily commute is thirty miles one way. “Not bad,” I thought. “Lots of folks around here drive that far to work.”

The kicker was her drive, she said, takes her ninety minutes each way. You can bet her drive isn’t nearly as peaceful and pretty as mine, too.

I also had a touch of that this-is-a-fine-place-to-live feeling Monday when my husband and I attended Memorial Day services in Stratford. There were plenty of people there participating and watching, using some of their day off to honor men and women who have served in the military, have defended our country in times of war, and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice doing so.

“God bless America, land that I love.” Count your blessings.