COLUMN: Patriotism in a sandwich? It’s not that simple

By M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal

A few years ago, my cousin Jim (formerly Jimmy) Morris was working on a commercial real estate project in Tupelo, and I made two suggestions.
“This town needs a water slide,” I said.
He laughed, took a deep breath and ran off a long list of reasons why opening a water slide would be like pouring money down a drain.
“Fine,” I said, “then get us a Schlotzsky’s.”
“Schlotzsky’s?” he said.
He explained that he already had a sandwich shop lined up. That was strike two, and I haven’t taken any more swings since.
If you know about Schlotzsky’s, you already feel my grief at Tupelo’s loss. If you’ve never visited, you’ve missed out on one of the finest sourdough sandwiches known to man.
When I was a kid in Huntsville, Ala., Mom often drove by Schlotzsky’s on her way home from work. As I write this, I can taste the semi-hard bun with lettuce and olives and mustard and meat and cheese.
I moved away from Huntsville and learned that the restaurants aren’t as widespread as I would like. I’ve probably had five in the past decade. As you know, we prize goods that are hard to get.
I recently found a shop in Memphis, and I took my mother-in-law and told her pretty much everything I’ve told you.
My story reminded her of a quote, “What is patriotism but the taste of the dish that you had as a child?”
I like the quote, but I don’t think it’s true. We’ll never convince a veteran that patriotism can be traced back to the four food groups.
The freedoms we enjoy in the United States of America shine brightly, especially when set against the backdrop of the bloody upheaval in Iran. We’re a blessed people.
For more than two centuries, military personnel and civilians have fought for our liberties.
Men and woman of good will continue to devote themselves to ensure that “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
Patriotism will be found in our country’s ideals, not in its food.
But there’s still something to that quote my mother-in-law, Susan, shared with me. If it’s not the truth, then it certainly points toward a truth. Most citizens are American by birth, but all of us are American by experience.
To me, Independence Day is about the ideals expressed in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
It’s also about shooting fireworks with Jimmy Morris in front of our Mama Ree’s house, and the dragon chaser that nearly blew up in our faces.
It’s about hot dogs, hamburgers and potato chips. It’s about bicycles, trampolines and water slides.
Basically, patriotism includes all of the experiences that tie us to this great country.
Happy July 4, everybody. Get out there and make some good memories.

M. Scott Morris is a Daily Journal entertainment writer. Contact him at (662) 678-1589 or scott.morris@djournal.com.