Sitting on the picnic table eating my grilled cheese stuffed with briskit, I watched things unfold that I wasn’t expecting to see.
I witnessed as parents played with their children in an open green area. Food trucks wafting out beautiful smells over the whole downtown Waco area lined the back walls. Families roamed around laughing and eating. Fathers played kickball with their children. Couples young and old were holding hands. Contemporary music played overhead that unashamedly occasionally referenced the Bible. Trains carrying heavy and important things rolled and screeched on rails behind us. Young couples laughed and swang in old-fashioned wooden swings and took selfies. Smiling pregnant women carried the hopes of tomorrows in their bellies as they roamed about.
For a moment, it felt as if I was sitting inside of a picture from a turn of the century gathering around a watering well in our hometown of Jackson, Tennessee down by the train depot. I’ve seen these pictures that were complete with babies in prams being pushed by ladies in large dresses, their hair pulled up in a tidy top bun. To their sides were their gentlemen. He, dressed in a dapper suit and tie, would be smoking a pipe and checking his timepiece in his vest pocket while holding a toddler by the hand for the evening stroll around the carousel.
All around me today in downtown Waco, Texas was something that America has yearned for and to be honest, I thought it was extinct.
Today I had the privilege to see with my own two (well, one good and one bad) eyes some good ole fashioned, Americana at it’s finest.
Underneath the guise of summer-scented candles on sale and cupcakes, the Gaine’s family has attracted scores of people to this busy Waco, Texas town. Oddly enough we didn’t see one sign of advertising for Magnolia anything, anywhere.
These 2 amazing young people have garnished enough support and steam to be successful without, apparently, a lot of local push.
What about this laughing and industrious (and fertile) couple is so appealing that people, like us, drive for unknown miles and wait in line for a cupcake and a hammer that says ‘DEMODAY’. Yes, I paid outrageouslly for that hammer. But it was one of those things that I saw and had to own. Women with 287 pairs of shoes..don’t judge me for my man-shopping decision abilities.
We travel distances, we watch them on TV, we follow them because we want to connect with them. We want to connect, either by a hammer, a pastry or a weird basket to something that is inherently American and good. And in 2018 Chip and Joanna Gaines represent that exact thing. It’s not that it’s THEM that we’re trying to connect with because the truth is they’re busy making multi-million dollar deals and I’m sure they don’t have time to sit down and discuss what I need to make the mantle out of for our new sunroom addition. We do these things because now more than ever, we have an innate and desperate need to attach ourselves to people that inspire us and give us hope that America, our homes and families are going to be ok.
These two house-flippers-turned-entrepreneurs have tapped into something that America, or most of it, likes; wholesome family values and a desire to build something new. They’ve ingnited our need to homestead but in a modern way. Where our forefathers built cabins in the woods, today we prove our worthiness by tearing down the popcorn ceiling and replacing it with tongue and groove pine ceilings. Or we pave new frontiers by replacing the carpet with cool vinyl planks.
Chip and Joanna have given us a dream in our home and that’s basic to Americans. Because of their approachability, their down to earth goofy antics and their love for family and people, the Gaines’ have given us permission;
permission to dream again.
There were no hatred protests. There were no angry mobs demanding anything. Although there could have well been a mad cupcake stampede in that tiny little bakery. There were no whiners and no discussions about Donald Trump. There were no unreliable and laughable CNN broadcasts (that now remind us of an SNL skit rather than reliable news) prodding the destruction of America anywhere to be seen or heard in The Silos District. All that was there was just good American people with an American dream and a desire to connect to the people that re-enabled them to imagine what could be again. They were there to see what they could do with their own hands in their own homes.
Yes, I walked away with an overpriced hammer and a cookie so good that’d make you want to slap the shiplap out of somebody.
But I also walked away with a reaffirmation that America is going to be ok. Despite the news broadcasts of death, disagreement, and destruction, good American people still roam freely among us.
And the American dream is still very alive and well.

That’s the best that I can tell about it,