Letters to the editor for July 4, 2007:

Dear Editor,

Like so many Shelby County residents, I braved the heat, humidity, and occasional torrential downpour with straight-line winds to enjoy Saturday&8217;s Liberty Day celebration.

Just like last year, I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Somehow I spent the first 22 years of my life as a Shelby County resident completely unaware of the event. Even after moving my family to Columbiana for a teaching job, I didn&8217;t attend Liberty Day.

I&8217;m not a people person. I have exactly six friends (if you count my wife, who is not necessarily a lock). I don&8217;t introduce myself to strangers. I don&8217;t like to hold hands when we pray at church. I intentionally avoid concerts by artists I know I love because I don&8217;t want to deal with the crowds. I pick bad movies&8212;on purpose. Needless to say, Liberty Day was not all too appealing to me.

Until last year, when one too many people looked at me and said, &8220;What do you mean you don&8217;t go to Liberty Day? Why not?&8221;

I don&8217;t have many rules in life, but one of them is this: when you realize you&8217;ve gotten dangerously close to being branded a liberal communist, you have to change something.

So I strapped my 3-year old daughter and 3-month old son in the double stroller, and off we went. And you know, somewhere between my three hundredth boiled peanut and my fourth ear of roasted corn (or perhaps my third fresh lemonade and my daughter&8217;s sixth pony ride), I realized something: I would never again miss a Liberty Day.

I love it. Where else can you see Uncle Sam on a bicycle, waving with one hand, eating with his other, and steering with his knees? Where else can so many singers be so surprisingly average? Where else can you be so surprised (and relieved) when that one person that can really sing gets on stage? Where else&8212;IN THE WORLD&8212;can you encounter, live and in person, a goat on a leash&8230;when you&8217;re NOT in the petting zoo?

I know, other places have celebrations too. I know Nashville&8217;s got Fan Days, and Birmingham&8217;s got City Stages, and Atlanta&8217;s got&8230;well, everything. But Columbiana&8217;s got Liberty Day, and they do it right every year. So I&8217;m sticking with Liberty Day. Me, the roasted corn, and the goats.

Jay Adams