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Like the guy with the placards on the street, preaching to passersby, I hope that
something I say, something I’ve thought long and hard about, something I feel we ought
to be discussing widely and honestly, may resonate with others and effect even a small
change in our national direction.

The other questions? I have little, if any, way to gauge who reads my offerings, and even
less feedback to ascertain whether any good is being done. Yes, I get “reader
responses,” for which I’m grateful to my friends here, but not representing poll-like
numbers. Many are encouraging and appreciative, while a few are downright vitriolic,
even calling me names I won’t repeat here. But as a percentage of the estimated several
million readers of the many writers and their articles here, my pieces seem rather
insignificant. I’m quite sure the world would keep spinning predictably without them.

PAGES FROM THE PAST
But as I pondered all this, wondering whether I should just quietly disappear from this
dais, my ancestor
Daniel Boone (my great-great-great-great grandfather) came to
mind. And curiously, along with my great grandpap
there appeared another early American who some
think was just a myth but who was historically a
flesh and blood pioneer—
Johnny Appleseed.
In my imagination, I questioned each of them
about why they did what they did.

They were both pioneers, venturing where others
dared not go, marking their paths so they could
find their own ways home, and maybe lead others
to new places. Each faced real dangers from
hostile and suspicious foes, but each proved agile
and adept at sizing up new environments and
learning how to get along just fine in them.

In fact, both earned the admiration and respect of the native American Indians because
they saw how Boone and Appleseed respected the wilderness they were passing
through.

    It’s not a stretch at all to describe them both as
    this country’s first real “ecologists,” men who
    dearly loved being “green.”

    Johnny actually, and literally, carried sacks of
    apple seeds with him, sprinkling and implanting
    them around settlements, endeavoring to replace
    beautiful trees that he felt had been needlessly
    cut down. He encouraged early settlers to
    beautify, as well as take from, their environment.

    And as I visited with these grand old men in my
    mind, I realized that neither had any idea, at least
    till very late in their lives, that their influence would
    extend beyond a few hundred people at most.

    Granddad Dan’l developed a reputation as a
    soldier, fighting in the French and Indian War and
    in the American Revolution, and he served in the
    Virginia Legislature. But he left most “politickin’” to
    his contemporaries Washington, Franklin,
    Jefferson, et al.

He had a wife and eventually 10 kids, and he took more naturally and passionately to
settling, owning his own land, and guiding others to theirs. He has been called “the first
great American naturalist” — he cherished the land in which he settled, and he wanted
to conserve its wild and native beauty.

And though his reverence for life in the great wilderness inspired writers like
Wordsworth, Bertram, Byron, and Whitman, mostly unknown to Boone himself, his own
self-description was much simpler: “I am a woodsman.”

A woodsman. A planter of apple seeds. What influence could they possibly have,
especially in a turbulent, nation-forming cauldron of events that saw the creation of
America, the wars with England and France, the establishment of a new Republic and a
democratic form of government unknown in the world of their time? Two “hayseeds,” two
“yokels” out in the woods, not connected to the power centers in New York,
Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and particularly Washington?

INFLUENCE
But influence they did have, beyond their knowledge or intent.

In his magnificent
Boone, a Biography, author Robert Morgan details the fantastic saga
of the trailblazer who literally opened the door to the American West, though his
conscious purpose was a simpler one — leading others toward their dreams. And
Johnny Appleseed, circuit riding through early settlements in the vast new country, could
never have imagined himself the central figure of stories and songs and plays, a symbol
of others to follow who would hallow and cherish our land, its original inhabitants, and its
unparalleled beauty.

I don’t know. As this new year gets underway, I’m questioning whether hacking out my
little pieces is worth the effort, or even needed in any way. Like so many, I’m gravely
concerned about the detours I see our society taking, the abandoning of our traditions
and original foundations; I see the daily trashing, not just of our immediate environment,
but of the social and moral pathways that made our people strong, self reliant, and
unique in the world.

I believe we, as a nation and a free society, face hordes of hate-blinded enemies . . .
while we spend billions on depraved, soulless, downright evil “entertainment” and allow
little organized minorities to wrench away our blood-bought identity and our constitutional
liberties. We seem to be imploding on ourselves, squandering resources on hapless
programs and helpless, time wasting distraction and self-gratification.

I don’t like saying these things, or feeling that somebody must.

BUILDING ON OUR HERITAGE
I’m likely not the guy who should be saying these things, since
others can say them better, and some are, thank God. Still, I
can’t ignore the impulse—perhaps it’s in my bloodline, my
heritage—to urge others to conserve our moral environment,
to plant new seeds in our communities, and to value and
teach our kids to value what our forefathers fought and died
to create for us. I've hoped I've been helping others find the
trails that brought us from our past, and that could lead us
home again—and maybe blazing new ones into an unfore-
seen brave future.

But Dan’l Boone I’m not. Johnny Appleseed was perhaps
unique to his own time. I may just be whistling in the wind.
But I do remember the tune. So maybe I’ll keep on whistling
a while longer.

For now, let’s pray that God will oversee the election of our next leaders, and grant us
an even greater future!
The eColumn appears on
MyBestYears.com
courtesy of Pat Boone,
recently inducted into the
inaugural Class of 2007
Hit Parade Hall of Fame.

During the early years of
his golden career, Pat
sold more records in the
'50's than any other
artist except Elvis
Presley.

As one of the top
recording artists of the
Rock and Roll era, he
sold more than 45
million records and
charted 60 songs in the
Top Forty, with 18 hitting
the Top Ten. His
Platinum recording
"Love Letters in the
Sand" stayed on the
charts for 34
consecutive weeks.

Pat also starred in 15
films, including
Journey
to the Center of the
Earth
, State Fair, and
April Love.

Currently, Boone hosts
two weekly radio
programs,
The Pat
Boone Show
(one of the
most listened to and
recognizable radio
shows in the country)
and
Then and Now, from
the
Music of Your Life
Radio Network. Each
week Pat Boone is
heard worldwide on over
315 radio stations.

For almost 20 years,
has proudly held the
honor of spokesperson,
chairman and host of
the Easter Seal
Society Telethon.

Through the years, Pat
Boone has given voice
to the best things about
America, religious liberty
and freedom.
PAT BOONE
                            ...Learning from the Past

My good wife asks me every week “Why are you doing
this? Who reads these articles you keep laboring over all
the time? How do you know anybody does . . . and if
they’re doing any good?”

Very good questions.

I can answer the first one: I appreciate very much the
opportunity to get up on a significant “soap box” and
sound off on issues I feel strongly about, issues that affect
all us Americans.
Visit Pat's Gold!
Daniel Boone (1760)
Johnny Appleseed,
born John Chapman