Despite U.S. economy, much left to celebrate

Freedom New Mexico

There are far worse things than spending Independence Day at home because your household budget is not independent of skyrocketing gasoline prices.

AAA’s annual holiday travel survey, released earlier this week, showed a small — slightly more than 1 percent — decrease in the number of people who will travel 50 miles or more from home this weekend. The downturn was not a surprise.

AAA spokeswoman Michelle Donati said, “This is what we were expecting with travel, given the continued rise in gas prices.”

But resourceful folks don’t need to hit the road to celebrate the most American of holidays. With tongue only slightly in cheek, we ask you to consider:

• The Founders revered our rights to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” In tribute, eat a bowl of Life cereal, run the Statue of Liberty play during a game of touch football, then watch the movie “The Pursuit of Happyness.”

n Baseball is America’s Pastime — if only because it has been around longer than the National Football League. Still, today is a chance to put up your feet and catch a game on TV. Give your family the full ballpark experience and serve them hot dogs, peanuts and Cracker Jack. Oh, and don’t forget to charge them $5 for a soda and $8 for a beer …

• There is nothing more American than Wiffle Ball. You may roast under the summer sun, but that’s what lemonade and sun block are for.

• Hanging out with thousands of sweaty strangers to watch fireworks can be a joyous occasion. Hopefully, you turned out for the Portales fireworks festivities on Thursday night. Clovis and several area communities have shows tonight. The Ute Lake holiday event is Saturday night.

That said, we encourage you to pause, if only briefly, to reflect upon the meaning of Independence Day and the birth of our nation.

While the current state of our economy leaves a lot to be desired, we are still blessed with the Founders’ enduring gift of freedom.