Elaine Wheat is a faith columnist for the Victoria Advocate.

Editor’s note: On Dec. 28, 2018, Elaine crossed over to that Eternal Shore and her family, friends and readers are missing her. The Advocate is reprinting Elaine’s articles for a year.

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free.”

– Galatians 5:1

Independence Day is a holiday celebrating Americans declaring their independence from Great Britain in 1776.

I have had many great memories of celebrating the Fourth of July, and most of them are at the beach. One of my special memories is a fishing tournament and fireworks.

One year that particularly stands out in my mind is the time my best fishing friend (BFF) caught a great big trout, and we were racing down the sandy beach road in my blue fishing van named “Old Blue” so she could get the fish weighed in and barely made the deadline. I noticed a fisherman also racing in, and the finish was going to be very close.

She just held the trout on a stringer for quick retrieval as we pulled up to the weigh-in station, and my friend, Mary, raced in.

I had noticed the group of fishermen were about to beat Mary to the finish line, and both of them might not have had time to weigh in their fish.

The fishermen were driving a Dodge Ram pickup with a boat in tow with an Evinrude motor that I would die for.

One of them had his fish out and got it presented nicely on a board and waited while the other guys were showing off their fishing equipment with all the electronic fish finders, global positioning systems and other bells and whistles.

I just felt like they had the advantage since we had only been wade-fishing off the beach.

Mary knew that I was listening to the fishermen and acting awfully interested in their fishing equipment.

Just after she put her trout down to be weighed and measured, the 6 p.m. deadline went off, and no more fish could be turned in.

The guys with all the fancy fishing equipment gritted their teeth as they realized what I had done and they had missed the deadline.

I thought about saying to the guys, “Does your boat have a stove in it? You could go and cook your fish. We’re going to take our prize money and go out to eat fried fish at our favorite restaurant.”

But instead, I held those thoughts to myself, and I prayed that those guys could win the next tournament.

Dear Lord, thank you for the freedom we Americans have. It has never been given to us freely, as many have given their lives for us to keep it.

If you would like to purchase the book “Oceans for Emotions” for $10, call the Victoria Advocate at 361-575-1451.

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