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As I Travel

Activities and Exhibits

I am very fortunate to be able to travel to a good many states each year. Some of that travel is to visit my relatives, some is strictly on buinsess and some is to particpate in what I consider to be one of the most enjoyable sports I've encountered, still target shooting.

I always make a point to "visit" with everyone that I can in each state. That may be the cashier in a gas/convenience store, the motel desk clerk, the waiter in the local restaurant or some other person that I have the pleasure of meeting.

I visit with folks because that's what I really enjoy doing. I just like people. I always have and hopefully, always will. I like the differences in speech patterns, accents, words that mean different things to different people and how people feel about themselves, their part of the world and the country in general.

This year I've been able to travel in all directions of the compass. The accents have been different, the tea is sometimes sweet and sometimes not, some folks eat cheese grits, fried chicken and barbeque (the choice of vinegar or mustard sauce can get you in an argument in a hurry); some folks eat cucumber/pastrami sandwiches on buttered rye bread and I've even had bagels and lox on occasion. What we have in common is that we all like to eat and generally like to eat what mama made us when we were kids.

We may like stock car racing, football, baseball, basketball, hockey or golf or none of the above. We may like Chevrolet, Ford or Dodge trucks and be sure that whatever the other one is won't out-pull, out-run or out-last ours.

We're pretty sure that we're right on most subjects but we'll generally listen politely to another person's point. We have our opinions on politics and politicians. We don't believe everything we hear or even all that we see. We're independent Americans and that's my point.

No matter how much we may differ in how we speak, what we wear, what we eat or what part of this country we're from, there's more that unites us than divides us.

Sit down with someone that you don't know, just the two of you and talk for a while. Don't have an audience listening. Don't try to impress anyone, just talk and soon you'll see that while you may differ and differ strongly on some subjects, you'll probably find that you agree on the basics. It's about life in general, what makes us happy, what makes us worry and what gives us hope. It's about our kids, our grandkids or some old dog. It's the taste of a fresh tomato with a little salt, a butternut squash with some sugar and cinamon or maybe a hot buttered ear of corn. It's how we made apple butter when we were a kid, the first grade teacher that made us sit up straight and taught us the alphabet, our grandpa who told us stories or how far we had to walk to school. Whatever it is, it brings us closer to each other and causes us to realize how much alike we all really are.

Now...if you want to talk about shotguns, choke tubes and ammo...that's a whole different subject.

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