Tuesday, July 3, 2012

That's America!

Memorial at the Rossiter Miners ball field
Rossiter, Pa. 

Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD. - Psalm 33:12 (NIV)
Every time I go to town, I pass the Rossiter baseball field. And I think . . .
Now, that’s America!
Let me tell you why.
Every spring, dedicated volunteers clean up and ready the fields for the season. Before every game, the infield is raked, the baselines limed, and the bases put in place. Between games the outfield grass is kept clipped and neat.
Volunteers—you’ll find them everywhere, in hospitals, libraries, historical societies, and on Little League fields. As I think of this powerful force that helps to keep things running better and smoother, I think . . .
Now, that’s America!
Each year improvements are made to the ball field area. New bleachers, a playground, a port-a-potty, a picnic pavilion, and a lighted flagpole atop which Old Glory flies day and night, have been added. Facing the bleachers is an old fashioned scoreboard, where someone keeps the runs tallied as runners cross the plate.
Sponsors’ signs hang on the chain link fence surrounding the field.
Last fall heavy rains flooded the small town of less than a thousand and damaged the outfield fence. Then, a couple of winters ago, the section of fence near the road came down due to either heavy snow or an out-of-control vehicle. All repairs were made before the season started.
I think of these local business owners who dip into their pockets even in trying economic times to donate needed cash for the upkeep of the “Field of Dreams,” and I think . . .
Now, that’s America!
Folks watch the games from their porches across the road and in the shade on the hill on the third base side—across the creek where foul balls often splash and kids scramble to retrieve them. Canvas chairs fill up the spectators’ area as game time nears. I think of baseball fans that fill the bleachers in every town across America to cheer on sons, grandsons, nephews, neighbors, and the teams they love, and I think . . .
Now, that’s America!
Rossiter was born in 1901 during the coal boom era in western Pennsylvania. For the longest time, a stark black mountain of residue left from the mines shadowed the ball field, the first thing I’d see coming down the hill into this former coal mining town. But that ugly landmark has since been removed, replaced by the verdant hillside where fans watch the games in the shade of trees and set off noisemakers when the Miners score a homerun.
The Rossiter ball team named themselves for the men who made their living in the bowels of the earth and whose families grew the town that has survived even though the mines shut down in the late 1940s. I think of folks like these who eke out a living during boom times and bust times, and survive and grow, and I think . . .
Now, that’s America!
Down the street from the ball field is a relatively new building—built on the ground where the Rossiter School once stood. American Legion Post 582. And I think of the men and women who have served this country down through the years, from the signing of Declaration of Independence to the fighting of Communism and terrorists across the globe, and I think . . .
Now, that’s America!
Thank you, God, for this wonderful country and the men and women who make it what it is. Amen.

Special-Tea:  Read Psalm 33

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