Summer, rodeos and Betsy Ross

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From the infancy of America, many gutsy women have famously paved the way in the founding of our nation and the development of industry. Betsy Ross is one of my favorite historical American icons. She met with General (at the time) George Washington when he visited her home. It was there they discussed the design of the first American flag. Washington had lobbied for a design featuring 6-pointed stars while Ross thought they should have only five. Ross won that argument and designed the first American flag. Today, the flag features a beautiful 13 strips and 50 stars, and every patriot loves to see it fly high when our national anthem is played. Betsy Ross was a gutsy woman and a great patriot.

In June, part of our family attended the annual Rodeo of the Ozarks in Springdale, Ark. One of my favorite parts of the rodeo is the grand entry and the presentation of the flag. This year, the daring cowgirls on the Rounders drill team and the rodeo queen candidates were impressive. We went to the rodeo to support our friends’ daughter, who was running for rodeo queen. At 17, she put herself out there, way outside of her comfort zone. She exhibited excellent horsemanship, grace and grit through the long interview process. She was not crowned rodeo queen but walked away with the Miss Congeniality award. We were all proud of her, and thanks to her mother’s stellar sewing skills, she was the best dressed cowgirl in the arena.

Independence Day is one of my favorite holidays. I love the food, friends and fireworks. Before the weekend started, I was having a flagpole malfunction. I tasked my 11-year-old to find whatever tools he needed to use to get my flag flying before the Fourth of July celebrations started. Always eager to use power tools, he dutifully drilled some new holes and proudly hung our flag off the front porch.

We enjoyed a long weekend visit from my brother and his family. Their children are quite a bit younger than ours. It was fun but often chaotic. Some of my favorite weekend memories included watching my 6-year-old niece go down a big water slide and off the diving board at a local water park. She is a serious child and lets herself worry about things for a little while before trying them. I was warmed by the big smile on her face after she had bravely tried something new.

It was fun watching them help with chicken chores, picking the garden and riding horses in our front yard. We also took some of them to watch a local theatre production of “Matilda” at our local library’s event center. We enjoyed Nebraska sweet corn, bratwurst and their company all weekend long.

This is our fourth summer for our business to service storage needs in Fayetteville. Between fixing hay equipment and getting a race car ready every week, my husband faithfully works alongside of me to make this a successful venture. When we started this endeavor four years ago, I would never have imagined where we would end up. It took courage, faith, and a lot of guts for me to leap into this project but I am glad we did it.

As summer winds down, I’m trying to channel my inner gutsy-Betsy Ross all while slowing down to appreciate family, faith and a high-flying flag. I hope you will too, neighbor.

Jody Harris is a freelance communications specialist, gardener, ranch wife and mother of four. She and her family raise Angus beef cattle and other critters on their northwest Arkansas ranch. She is a graduate of Missouri State University. To contact Jody, go to ozarksfn.com and click on ‘Contact Us.’

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