Happy Independence Day, America!
I am writing to wish everyone in this great big country a wonderful Fourth of July weekend. There is a time for everything under the sun — praise, criticism, work, protest, and play. This moment is particularly for celebrating the efforts of Americans and the friends of liberty everywhere. Thank you!
It is impossible to single out all who deserve special praise. I’ll highlight just one: Luzane Tayloe. Luzane was not a perfect person. She thought herself a little better than most. Still, she worked hard to gather and share knowledge and understanding. She read hundreds of books from her Henry County library — probably a couple thousand books by the end of her days — and became a teacher as a teenager in her Paris, Tennessee school.
I vividly remember my grandmother in the last months of her life educating the Memphis community about the American Revolution — emphasizing how special and ephemeral this opportunity for personal liberty. She deeply celebrated the 4th of July in 1976, the Bicentennial, before passing away weeks later.
My family is celebrating this weekend with friends — something particularly special for all of us in our Covid-19 world. As a child growing up in the South, New Jersey would have been among the last places that I would imagine finding myself on the Fourth. As an adult, I know that New York, New Jersey, Tennessee, Florida and all states are home to great people. We are deeply thankful for the chance to spend time with them.
I thank you for your friendship. Be happy and well this weekend!
J. Andrew Shelley
PS — Check out the recent podcast of a friend, Jim Fini. A little bit ago, Jim, an entrepreneur I have worked with in the past, invited me onto his show, Locally Grown. The episode is titled “Seeking Middle Ground with Author J. Andrew Shelley.” Happy Independence Day, Jim!
PSS — If you have read the novel, American Butterfly, I am honored and thank you!
If you haven’t yet read it, I encourage you to do so. It is very good, loved by many, and well worth the read in our divided America. If you need a free copy, just ask at firstname.lastname@example.org.