written by Jack West, Elba Clipper intern
Adela Duncan stayed up all night July 3rd. She has a braid that falls past her shoulders and a box full of cinnamon-covered fried-tortillas. Duncan has been selling the tortillas at the Let Freedom Ring celebration for three years, and all of the money she makes goes into the Elba High School Band program. This year was no different as she was on the square in downtown Elba last Thursday evening, July 4, selling her tortillas. Her son, Enrique Duncan, plays in that band. He has played multiple different instruments, but his favorite is guitar. Adela said one of the rooms in her house was filled with guitars and workout equipment. Still in high school, Enrique has spent his summer at basic training for the U.S. Army National Guard at Ft. Benning, Ga.—hence the workout equipment. He will be a senior this upcoming school year at Elba High School. Adela said her son watched lots of videos online about people who had joined the military. She said he decided that this was the right path for him. “I think he thought he knew what he was getting into,” Adela said. “He didn’t have a clue.” Enrique’s enlistment picture dominated Adela’s tortilla-laden table last Thursday evening. “This year, Fourth of July means more,” Adela said. “It’s personal now.” Adela does not help plan the celebration. She is not a large corporate donor with her name on the stage. However, she sets up her table underneath the only oak tree left on the courthouse square. She stays up all night to make the cinnamon tortillas and then gives the money to her son’s high school band. She’s a small-town celebration.