Back in 1976, I remember how everything was focused on the bicentennial of America. There was no place to hide from the ongoing celebration of our country's first 200 years.
My brother, Steve, was in the Mason High School class of '76, and I remember that even their invitations had a patriotic theme. The high point, though, was July 4, 1976.
There were fireworks displays unequaled since. There were tall ships sailing in New York harbor. There was the ringing of the Liberty Bell. It was an amazing crescendo to the celebration. And then, life resumed.
In 1986, it was the Texas Sesquicentennial. Living in Austin, I got to watch firsthand as the state celebrated 150 years of independence. There were some great parades down Congress Avenue, a wonderful concert by Bob Wills' Texas Playboys in the middle of intersection of Congress and 6th Street, and presentations around the state.
The high point of that celebration occurred on April 21st. I was fortunate enough to have friends with Texas Parks & Wildlife, and was asked to assist with the celebration held at the San Jacinto Monument. I sat behind Dr. Red Duke and Attorney General Jim Mattox, listened to Willie Nelson sing, and watched fireworks light up the humid night sky over the Houston Ship Channel.
This year, we're celebrating our own sesquicentennial here in Mason County. We've had proclamations. We've celebrated our ancestors with a cemetery tour, and reveled in our pride in education with a schoolhouse tour. And now, we're at the midpoint of the year.
There's still Roundup, and that's going to be a major focus point of this yearlong celebration. There's reunions, the parade, a true ranch rodeo, and lots of 'remembering when.'
In September, the Chamber is sponsoring a historic Bed & Breakfast tour early in the month. At the end of the month, there will be a County Fair!
In October, there's Old Yeller Days, the Gem of the Hill Country 10K/5K, and a celebration of First United Methodist Church recognizing the long and enduring contribution of the Methodist Church in Mason County.
November sees the Wild Game Dinner, then the Light Up Our Town festivities leading us into the Christmas season and the close of the year.
And, appropriately, in December, the final historical tour and celebration is the "Heritage of Faith" tour of churches in the county.
We've so much to celebrate, and every week brings recognition of individuals and groups that have helped to make Mason County the place all of us are so proud to call home. If you have not participated yet in one of these events, there is still time to get involved.
In 1958, it seems that the entire county was eager to have some role in the celebration. In 2008, I don't see that enthusiasm to as great a degree.
Maybe I'm not seeing and hearing from everyone, and have not noticed that the enthusiasm is there. Maybe many folks are saving their fervor for one of the aforementioned events to be held during the remainder of the year. Or, maybe some folks just don't care as much.
You still have time to celebrate your pride in place. To make sure you have stories to tell your children and grandchildren. To take the photos that, 50 years from now, a different editor will juggle to get in the paper. To make memories for tomorrow.
It’s all just my opinion, but it’s what I wish would happen.