Monday, December 19, 2011

Where has the heart of American gone?

  So here is my top five place I would rather be than my house right now, in no particular order.
1. Kona, HI
2.  Salmon Creek, Idaho
3.  Craig, Montana
4.  Rifle, Colorado
5. West Canada Creek, New York

  Okay, so a lot of out of the way places that time may have forgotten or really maybe places that we have forgotten.  Places where old barns still stand in picturesque pastures and where the phrase "Just getting by" is as common place as the wind blowing through the trees.  When did the progress of man and the enrichment of our minds surpass the people and places that made America what it is today.  Our country was not build upon the backs of bankers and politicians, but those who chose to work hard and take care of their own.  It's not to say that those who invested, dreamed, entrepreneured?, did not sacrifice or did not work hard to build this country, but there is a special place in my heart for the calloused hands that nailed, cut and stitched the country together to make it what it is today.

  People have dreamed and decided that they were going to sacrifice their lives to make a dream that they have a reality.  Some people do dream and work for different things mind you, it is not always money, power and the bigger/better. Some of us sacrifice for things like family, happiness or for those who are less fortunate than us. That builds America too, it is the glue that holds all of the other greatness together. Wealth is something I think most of us would like more of, if not a lot more of.  Though money is necessary to survive it does not always makes us happy or help you out when you need to borrow a cup of sugar.

  I come from a long line of Strong Italian men who worked long hours to provide for their families.  Men who after WWII and Vietnam came home to a world that had changed, families that had grown or even gotten smaller.  But they were men who picked themselves up, worked and saved to make a good blue collar life for their wife and kids.  My grandfather sold insurance and my father was in Construction Management, not the highest paying jobs in the world, but it fill the pantry. So why do we not celebrate these types of people and towns?  Why is trade school not as viable as a university? Maybe because we as a society turns it's nose to people who jobs like a wielder and say, "Oh, he must have not gone to college or was a slacker in high school." This attitude may not be from everyone, but it is at least some what prevalent within the mind set of many.

  It is sad, but small cities and towns get the same bad wrap too.  If it does not have a Walmart, Starbucks and at least 5 different fast food drive-throughs it is the uncivilized underbelly of America. You rarely hear of people saying, "Ya I want to go to Craig, Montana to see the sights!" Or "I know honey, lets skip Disney World and go to Duck Key, FL population 409!"  Sure some want to go there to flyfish for Browns or Bone fish, but not to see the sights. But I contest that is exactly what is killing the great things about America.  Two of my favorite programs on tv are Dirty Jobs and the now defunct Only in America with Larry the Cable Guy.  Both highlight hardworking people who are happy with what they do even if the do not get a big paycheck at that end of the day.  They take pride in their craft and I love that.  They live in Places where life is slow, but the work is rough.

  For me I just wish people had an interest in small towns and dirt roads that most of us love to spent time in.  I realize that most of us are men and women who spend hours, days and weeks even in small towns hunting or fishing, but do we help promote those places. I know many times I do not.  I don't always buy american products, shop at stores that have good values or a vested interest within the community other than their bottom line.  And to be honest I know I need to spend more time researching where and what I purchase.  Lets face it, buying American can be expensive or at times difficult to find certain product that are build locally.  But if I just made more of an effort I am sure that I can make a difference. We as sportsmen should take the lead in this issue.

  I am sure you are wondering "Man this does not have much to do with hunting or fishing, why write it?"  Well it is simple, I am tired of seeing the little fly shops, hunting stores, mom and pop restaurants that I love go out of business.  At times it is sickening how much it happens.  Here in California we have a highway that is the epitome of what I am talking about the 395.  Hours and hours of scenery that ranges from Death Valley to steep mountains to ski resorts and in my opinion the best trout fishing West of Idaho.  And all along the 395 you mirror the Owens river. Little towns like Mojave, Lone Pine, Big Pine, Bishop, Crowley,Benton, Mono and  Mammoth Lakes all dot the road map like broke backed rattle snake.  All small and all slowly dying.  But I think these are the places that need to be saved, not the metropolitan areas like LA and New York.  They have enough Fruit Cakes there to keep themselves going for a long time, they live off of government money and stimulus to build their roads while many of us drive by the same pot hole that has been there for 6 years.

  So here is what I am pledging I want to bring the focus back on small towns destinations that we at outdoorsmen love and thrive in.  We all have needs and stories in our lives.  For a small shop owner in Bishop, Ca it is customers and we all have stories.  My goal is to tell others about them and show that we can be proud of who we are and where we came from.  Wednesday I am going to lay my plan out there for you all.  I will tie in what you are reading here with my new documentary series that I am working on.  So please think about what you invest in, family, friends is the given, but lets not forget about the community also.

And if you know of Hunting, Kayaking, Fishing or any other outdoor company that is American made, please leave a comment below. I'd love to see which companies are still state side and working to provide jobs and stability within our country


Thanks all,

The Bearded Boar.

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