I think it's time we stop, children, what's that sound


Everybody look what's going down


— Buffalo Springfield



I am writing this on the Fourth of July.


A few months ago I remember thinking — and think I even said it out loud — that "this" would all be over by the Fourth of July. I’d grill up some small filets from Beck and Hill, Jean would cook some corn on the cob, and then we’d sit on the driveway and shoot off some fireworks to celebrate "it all" being over.


Well as the lady said, "God made the world round so we couldn’t see too far ahead."


Little did we know.


Little did we know that COVID-19 was just like the drum beat in Fleetwood Mac’s song "The Chain." It laid down a rhythm that other elements would be worked into. Slowly racial unrest began to build. Then the statues began to come down. And so on and so forth.


And all through it the COVID-19 keeps beating like the drum.


And the long, hot summer lay ahead.


I’ve spent a good deal of time cleaning, putting things in order so that I know where to find them. Throwing other things away.


For many years, I’ve thought about the cleaning of the Temple during the time of Josiah whenever I do a deep cleaning. When Josiah cleaned the Temple, they discovered that they lost the Bible.


Cleaning and putting things in order is an act of creation. It involves finding things that have been neglected and putting them in a place where they won’t fall out of our attention. It involves finding things that are dirty, torn, broken, and useless and throwing them away.


And if you are married or doing this in partnership with others, it involves a lot of conversation about which of these is which. Which of these piles of paper is the Holy Bible and which is a file of cancelled checks from a bank account you haven’t had for 30 years?


Sometimes we have saved things that are very meaningful for us but are very upsetting to others. Those we save, but we put away quietly. We give them the special honor of mothballs and a cedar chest. Either there will be a day where they can be appreciated by others or they will be forgotten about entirely. Time decides which and time has the final say.


Right now I am looking at a porcelain statue of a donkey that I had on my desk as a graduate student at Oklahoma State. I am not sure where I got it from, but I seem to remember my Aunt Anne who died last year gave it to me. She passed away a couple (a few?) years back. It pleases me to think of it that way, but if someone were to tell me differently and had a convincing argument, I would have to believe them and change my thinking.


This is because above all sentiment and feeling we should seek the truth, even if it is among the debris of our memory. We’ve been told we shall know the truth and the truth shall set us free.


Because this is the Fourth of July and our freedom is what we are celebrating.


But the drum is still beating. It’s hot. And I think it’s going to get worse before it gets better.


But I think it will get better.


For what it’s worth.



Bobby Winters, a native of Harden City, Oklahoma, blogs at redneckmath.blogspot.com and okieinexile.blogspot.com. He invites you to "like" the National Association of Lawn Mowers on Facebook.