Tonawanda News

Breaking News

Lifestyle

July 3, 2011

HAYNES: Patriotic streak showed on July 4 as child

— — I think the Fourth of July is probably one of my mother’s favorite holidays because it gives her an excuse to tell one of the more embarrassing — if a bit charming — stories from my childhood.

Because I’ve gotten to the age where I’m no longer red with embarrassment when even thinking about it, I’ll share. You see, as a very young kid, I went through an overly patriotic streak.

I’m not sure where I got it from; my family members have never been particularly vocal about their love for the country. Not that we hate America or don’t have any pride, we were just never the sort to have bumper stickers or yellow ribbon magnets on our cars.

But as a kid, I had a tendency to have strong moral convictions about certain things as they popped in and out of my head. I boycotted Guns N’ Roses for a long time because they cursed on television during an award show. I similarly stopped listening to Nirvana after Kurt Cobain killed himself, something I just couldn’t wrap my 12-year-old head around.

And when Leon Lett’s infamous fumble lost the Cowboys a touchdown during Super Bowl XXVII — against the Bills no less — because he was hot-dogging, I decided I was no longer a Cowboys fan.

My family always seemed to put up with these little flights of fancy on my part, if sometimes with a smirk and a roll of the eyes. But it was when Independence Day — and sometimes Flag Day — rolled around that my convictions were more than a little annoying.

I was in the second grade when I first started insisting on putting on a little patriotic show in the front yard. Since I have no siblings, that meant my mother and grandmother had to join me if I didn’t want this to be a one-man production. And I never did.

I don’t remember the specific order of events, but it usually involved mounting the American flag on the front of our house, at which point we’d stand in the yard, hands over hearts and recite the Pledge of Allegiance. We’d also recite the Texas Pledge of Allegiance, which I can only guess we just learned during a Texas history unit at school, because I don’t remember ever saying it at any other time in my life.

Then the parade began ... a couple laps around the yard, dressed in red, white and blue, waving small flags and singing every patriotic song I knew. It was always a serious affair.

Why the two of them put up with this, I’ll never know.

This routine continued for a couple of years before I finally hit the age where what my peers thought of me became a real concern.

Somewhere along the line, it became embarrassing to be seen as too patriotic. The stereotype, of course, is that Texans are a bunch of gun-happy conservatives who swing wildly from blind love for their country to wanting to secede from the Union.

I, of course, wanted to steer myself as far away from this generalization as possible, especially when I first moved to Buffalo for college. My college years coincided with George W. Bush’s first term, and it was something along the lines of social suicide — in my circle, at least — to appear as if you even remotely agreed with anything the government did or said during that time.

But when did loving one’s country become synonymous with sympathizing with every war, every law, every social policy our government puts forward? This isn’t a new sentiment, but one that bears repeating, to be a little clichéd about it.

I’m not about to force my family into an organized parade on the front lawn tomorrow while I’m back in Texas for a visit. But maybe it’s time I grew up a little and celebrated all that is great about our country. There’s plenty, and I’m not ashamed to admit it.

Contact features editor Danielle Haynes at 693-1000, ext. 116.

1
Text Only
Lifestyle
  • BOOK NOOK: Books lists spooky side of Western New York Ask anyone in Western New York -- or anywhere at all, really -- about ghost stories, and I'll bet they have one for you.

    October 22, 2012

  • Solving a murder in a convent

    May 29, 2012

  • adamczyk, ed Stories from the neighborhood, and the concentration camp

    The person with a haunted past is a familiar and reliable trope in literature and film, and perhaps all of us have something about which to be haunted. A book by Lewiston resident Joseph Leary, “Klara,” sharply explains a story of past misdeeds in a well-written and evocative novel.

    May 21, 2012 1 Photo

  • Some tips for the fathers-to-be

    All of a sudden, I’m getting to feel like a bit of an ol’ pro at this fatherhood thing.

    May 21, 2012

  • Jill Keppeler Clueless and late to the garden party

    The more I get into this whole gardening thing, the more I realize how much I don’t know.

    It started not long after I finished my first “Clueless Gardener” column, when I walked into a store with the idea of making some gardening purchases. Seeds, I thought. Maybe some plants to transplant. But mainly, seeds. That’s kind of the point of a garden, right?

    May 21, 2012 1 Photo

  • crittercompanions2012.jpg Easy ways to enrich your pet's life and help the environment

    The day has come were my finely articulated words have been placed on the bottom of my bird cage to be soiled upon. Sure, it was funny when it was Joe Biden’s face or another writer’s work. But mine? So cruel. So proud.

    May 21, 2012 1 Photo

  • 120215 COPPER2.jpg All that glimmers

    Even during a drizzly February day, Gleam & Glimmer Stained Glass Studio is full of light.
    It shines through the stained glass pieces in the front of the Webster Street shop, glances off mosaics and jewelry and lands on the works in progress in the studio area, where students can learn to create their own multi-colored art.
    That’s exactly the way co-owner Suzanne Todaro likes it.

    March 8, 2012 1 Photo

  • Danielle Haynes mug HAYNES: Sizing up the Oscars

    The big show is tonight and for the first time in my life, I have managed to catch every single movie nominated for the best picture award.

    February 25, 2012 1 Photo

  • PopcornBar.jpg COLUMN: Make your popcorn red carpet-worthy

    Annual movie award shows are the perfect excuse for hosting a party.

    February 25, 2012 1 Photo

  • 120215 chocolate pie1.jpg HAYNES: Celebrating the Oscars with a little 'Help' in the kitchen

    February 25, 2012 1 Photo