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Happy Independence Day!!!

     This year, we're going to do our best to work every amendment of the Bill of Rights into the Guthrie Independence Day celebratory activities.  For starters, we're going to pray before the burgers and dogs but we're not going to force anyone to participate against their will.  Catholics may cross themselves, Christians may say "Amen!", and Presbyterians may stare non-judgmentally at the floor.  We may say what we like about the burgers and dogs and any reporters present may publish whatever they see or hear.

     Arms will be kept, borne, and likely used to decimate a case or two of clay pigeons.  Loser buys the beer.

     No soldiers will be quartered...unless they're related to us by blood or by kinship or have no one else with whom to celebrate the freedoms they fought for.  In the latter case, they will be warmly welcomed into our home.

     No one will be searched and nothing seized, unless my Dad is hiding the last Guinness, in which case searching and seizing are completely reasonable, nay, expected.

     No one will be forced to utter a word of self-incrimination, no one will be tried twice for the same crime, all will enjoy due-process, and we won't claim any individual property for collective use...unless Dad is still hiding the last Guinness.

     If we feel a rule has been broken, a speedy, yet, informal trial by jury shall ensue and the defendant  will, of course, be allowed to have someone play Devil's Advocate on his or her behalf .  Even if we all know he or she is in the wrong, we'll try to keep an open mind (I'm speaking directly to you, Randall).  The same freedoms shall be afforded to individuals in disagreement with one another, as long as more than 20 bucks is at stake.  Otherwise, relax -- it isn't worth it.

     Aside from my Mother-In-Law's questionable side-dishes, cruel and unusual punishments will not be tolerated.  Mom, this means that you can't drag out old family photos this year.  Why did you cut my hair that way when I was four?  The haircut was unusual and dragging out those photos is cruel.

     In short, we'll all simply assume and act as if we are free to celebrate as we see fit so long as our actions do not conflict with any Federal, State or local laws or infringe upon the personal liberty of others.  Moreover, we'll remember that the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or TO THE PEOPLE.

     Remember to thank a veteran this year, folks.  Freedom isn't free.  HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!!!