Our Nation's Birthday

Holidays are a mixed bag at Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp. Visitation is permitted on those days, and visits are life-giving to inmates. However, when no visitors show, holidays can also make for very long weekends. In a place already overcrowded, a visitation day closes the outdoor picnic area and the TV room, as both areas are needed for visits with family and friends. Usually we have a decent meal on holidays, and our 2018 4th of July meal was good. We had hamburgers (allegedly close to 100% beef), hotdogs (who really knows what's in ANY hotdog), fries, beans, corn of the cob, and an ice cream sandwich.

On most holidays, we have East versus West sporting contests, which can be entertaining. The main event on July 4th was a 100 yard dash. The race was conceived when two inmates, one noticeably overweight and the other significantly more overweight, began arguing about who was faster. Before they knew it, posters were up announcing the Independence Day Race and the odds makers took over.

Inmates will bet on anything remotely related to sports, and this head-to-head race was remotely related to sports just enough that the betting was hot and heavy. Postage stamps and mackerel packs serve as currency for everything here, betting included. Now, I'm not really into betting, as it's one of the few personality flaws I don't have. Thankfully I missed that temptation, as it provides a rare opportunity for me to look down on other sinners. But even as a non-wagerer, I was among the event's 180 mesmerized spectators standing in a rare Texas July shower that soaked the race course. I couldn't help but wonder if the wet conditions favored the heavy or the heavier. Would the extra weight be a burden or traction in the wet grass?

The race was run....unforgettably shirtless. Imagine any season's first episode of the The Biggest Loser TV show and then, if you dare, mentally remove the contestants shirts. I don't remember who won, as the two runners were...unforgettably shirtless.

So that's how we campers celebrated, at taxpayer expense, the birth of our nation. I'm not sure what Thomas Jefferson would have thought. My sense is that he would wonder what the hell happened. Maybe he'd also wonder how we became a country led by whiners who are collectively so fearful they feel it necessary to lock up 2.4 million people, leaders who are even afraid of a few thousand parents and children fleeing for their lives from Central America. But those are topics for other holidays.

'Merica, lubit er leebit!!