It is really hard to believe that it is 2016. I have just barely gotten used to writing “2015” on my notes and checks, and now I have to move on. I must try harder to adapt to new things.
And, it is true. Life is about change and challenges. We grow older, our bodies change, and we must face those challenges and do the best we can. These types of changes and challenges are inevitable. Deborah Miloslavich told me once that we are all victims of the same fatal illness, mortality. And that gets us all, eventually.
But, let us consider not our eventual demise. That is coming whether we like it or not. Let us look at some of the blessings we have and be grateful for them.
Here, in Rappahannock, we have a great many freedoms, and of those freedoms, the greatest is the freedom to be left alone. To let us live out our days in relative peace and calm. Of course, we aren’t free to do whatever we want. Society requires that we try to be good citizens, and, as we have learned since our Sunday school days, we should render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s. We have to pay our taxes, obey the laws and get along with our friends and neighbors as best we can.
Even so, we enjoy a great many freedoms. Here in Rappahannock, if the time of year is right, and I want to do it, I can cut down and pile up all the leftover corn stalks and bean vines from my vegetable garden and set a match to the pile and burn them up. When I moved from Arlington to the hinterlands of Fairfax County, the first year when I cleaned my garden off, I learned the hard way that you can’t do that in Fairfax County.
If you have a barn with your farm equipment in it, and want to have a light come on at the entrance to that barn when it gets dark, and go off when the sun comes up, some people want to tell you what kind of light you can put up, what kind of shade you must have on that light, and how far that light can shine. Are those that want to impose those restrictions on you willing to bear part of the responsibility when a thief breaks in your barn and steals your farm equipment? I doubt it.
Many of the same people want to tell me what type of firearm I can have, where I can shoot it, how many rounds I can have in the clip and what type of ammunition I can use. And some of the more ignorant ones want to regulate the looks of the firearms in my gun cabinet, even though they do nothing that my deer rifle won’t do. Of course, some think we should not be allowed to have any firearms of any kind, but it is painful to give them anymore newsprint than this sentence.
Friends, we can agree or disagree on the burn laws, the meaning of the Second Amendment to the Constitution and any of a number of different issues. What I am saying here is we should not take the freedoms we have lightly. At every turn, there is someone who wants to put more and more restrictions, regulations and laws in place. All for the good of the people, you understand.
I firmly believe the words, widely attributed to Thomas Jefferson, and used by Henry David Thoreau in his Civil Disobedience, that the government that governs best governs least. In my mind, this fits perfectly with the desire of many of us old codgers to just be left alone.