From David Carroll's

What a country, right?  As we celebrate America’s 241st birthday this week, let’s pause and list a few reasons to love America.

Thanks to cable TV and YouTube, we can still enjoy Elvis, Johnny Carson, Lucy and Jack Benny, even though few people under 40 know who they are.

We have amazing first responders who respond directly to the situations the rest of us are trying to escape.

We have news channels that lean to the left, and news channels that lean to the right.  And no one makes us watch any of them.

We have towns called Ducktown, Turtletown, Suck Creek, Gruetli-Laager, Orme, Hogjaw Valley, Rising Fawn, Talking Rock, Peavine, Nutbush, Bell Buckle, Rugby, Greenback, Bucksnort, Bugtussle, Flintstone, Burning Bush, Isabella, Box Springs, Rocky Face, Lick Skillet, Butts, Arab, Bartlebaugh, Beersheba Springs, and Scratch Ankle.  And I’ve been everywhere, man.

We have farmers’ markets with fresh, homegrown produce.

We have the Country Music Hall of Fame.

They still make Yoohoo, Zagnut bars, and Samoan Girl Scout Cookies.

We have the “Hot Now” sign at Krispy Kreme.

We have an American original named Dolly Parton, who shares her good fortune.

We have Betty White, Tom Hanks, and Willie Nelson.  At 84, Willie’s new song is called, “I’m Still Not Dead.” That’s his best title since “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die.”

We still have “The Price Is Right.”  It’s TV comfort food, on those days when we’re too sick to go to school or work.

We have movie theaters with auditorium seating, and seats that rock.

We still have sweet tea, and southern restaurants that consider macaroni and cheese to be a vegetable.

We still have waitresses that call old men “Sweetheart.” Or, at least that’s what I’ve heard.

Even with tablets, Kindles, and all the other items that are “better” than books, we still have great libraries.

The guy in Florida who was responsible for making millions of robo-calls, ripping off folks all over the nation, has been arrested and imprisoned.  It’s a start!

We still have some folks who don’t park illegally in handicapped spaces, who stop at the white line at a traffic intersection, who use their headlights in the rain, and who return their shopping carts to their stalls.  We don’t have enough of those people, but we’re working on the others.

We have low gas prices.  For now, anyway.

We have shopping malls.  For now, anyway.

We have the Kiss-Cam at sporting events.

We have a former president and his wife, Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, who are in their 90s, and still attend Braves games.  They show up on the Kiss-Cam now and then!

We have hardware stores that give away fresh-popped popcorn as you leave the store.  Come to think of it, I could use a few nuts and bolts right about now…

We have weather forecasting technology that can usually tell us it’s going to rain five days in advance, and can always give us a few minutes notice on a tornado, right down to our street.

We have homegrown tomatoes, Georgia peaches, and fresh okra.

We have Caller ID.

We have texting.  Yes, it can be annoying, but it’s a blessing when your children live far away.  It sure beats long distance calls, doesn’t it?

We have record stores, so we can buy back the vinyl records we cashed in twenty years ago, before we realized vinyl was cool.

We still have nice people at convenience stores who can give us verbal directions, after our GPS has sent us to a cow pasture.

We have less painful dental procedures, thanks to that wonderful nitrous oxide that makes your toes tingle.

We have school bus drivers who safely transport children to and from their homes each day, despite a recent wave of accidents and bad publicity.

We have George and Barbara Bush, now married 72 years.

We have root beer floats.

We have chocolate chip cookies.  Not the ones you buy in packages at the store.  The ones fresh out of the oven.  I’ll have just one more.  Then another.

We have postal employees and police officers who check on elderly residents.

We have great food labeling, with information on nutrition, calories, ingredients, and expiration dates.  Not that many years ago, we had none of that information.

We have “Jeopardy.” Yeah, thirty-something years after I said it wouldn’t last.  “It’s too hard,” I said.

We have online, do-it-yourself income tax services that cost next-to-nothing.  I said they wouldn’t last, either.  I love it when I’m wrong.

We have robotic vacuum cleaners that work.  Sort of.

We have wheeled suitcases that work.  Really.

And, we still have a free press that seeks truth, and holds those in power accountable.  Is it perfect? Absolutely not. But trust me: you don’t want the alternative.