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    Armchair philosopher, politically-incorrect political commentator, raconteur, retired air traffic controller, dilettante truck driver, US Army veteran, recluse, sometime-writer, redneck convert neè Buckeye, ne'er-do-well, bon vivant, unrepentant libertine, unapologetic libertarian, and (of course) curmudgeon…

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Not One of THOSE Days

Posted by The Curmudgeon on July 3, 2010

It’s the Fourth; celebrate it as such—and don’t spare the noise

 

We have certain occasions set aside for somber commemoration.

This ain’t one of ’em.

Memorial Day? Yes. By all means, solemn and somber. Veteran’s Day? Decidedly less so.

But…the Fourth of July?

Uh-uh.

John Adams wrote that Independence Day “…ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.”

Not quite my idea of a party.

But then, he wrote “It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever.”

Now, that‘s what I’m talkin’ ’bout.

This isn’t a time for somber reflection; it’s a CELEBRATION. Break out the fireworks, shoot-off a miniature cannon (if you have one), make some noise, and have a ball; that’s what the day is for. Crank-up the backyard grill. Fly the flag. The whole bit.

And lots of firecrackers.

I’ll freely admit that some of my fondest boyhood memories are of growing-up in a small town in central Ohio where The Fourth was a very big deal. The one day out of the year when simple, unbridled patriotism was welcome pretty much everywhere, when everyone pulled-out all the stops and had a good time. Every charcoal grill at every house for miles around worked overtime, assaulting the palate with that amalgam of smoke, barbecue sauce, roasted chicken, ribs, burgers, hot dogs, steaks, and marshmallows. We’d ride our bicycles gaudily festooned with red, white, and blue crepe paper, flags flew from everything that would support one, we were awash in the aroma of hundreds of pies baking, and delighted in our little one-horse town parade. Corn-on-the-cob dripping gobs of butter. Homemade ice cream. Watermelon.

The town’s leaders always did a good job of things, and various civic organizations pulled together to make the occasion memorable. There was a festival set up at the local high school football field, with sack races, three-legged races, wheelbarrow races, a greased-pig contest (does PETA even allow that, anymore?), a greased-pole climb, and stuff I can’t even remember now. We’d throw the baseball and try to dunk the chick in the swimsuit, chase the pig, and earnestly shinny-up the pole for that cherished $10 prize at the top. And food everywhere, with each food booth smelling as good as the one before and the one after, and it was impossible to get in trouble. Pie-eating contests. Watermelon-eating contests (and seed-spitting, of course).

And always the sporadic firecracker activity to punctuate the occasion.

It was a great day to be a kid. Or even a grown-up, for that matter.

After a hard day at play, it was back home to the real supper (after running the gauntlet of everyone else’s grills) in anticipation of the one fireworks display we’d see all year—which was always spectacular. As luck would have it, there’d always be ample opportunity for toasting marshmallows and a round of homemade ice cream (and cranking that monster was actually a labor of love—with the promise of its own near-instant gratification to provide the impetus to keep going) in the fading light before the feature presentation began.

It’s been said that part of the idea of having fireworks and other noise-makers for the Fourth was to re-create the sounds of guns, explosions, and cannon-fire, reminding us that we are a republic born of the fire of revolution. That works for me. (So, when some modern-day self-proclaimed do-gooder tries to get rid of the fireworks, bluntly direct him/her to someone else’s party to screw-up; this one’s supposed to be loud.)

I also recall reading many years ago a treatise by some music guru (using whatever criteria he’d determined; I don’t remember all the details) who explained that John Philip Sousa’s Stars and Stripes Forever was the most perfectly-conceived musical composition in history. That works for me, too. By all means, strike-up the band, fire-up those grills, and get those fuzes lit.

For this one day out of the year, we get corny, rousing music, fun, Sousa, and a helluva lot of Ka-BOOM‘s—all without having to listen to some egghead latter-day social genius or politician apologizing for all the things that he thinks we aren’t; rather, we simply celebrate who and what we are. And gobs of butter dripping from our corn-on-the-cob. And barbecue.

What could be more perfect?

________
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4 Responses to “Not One of THOSE Days”

  1. Lynne Z said

    And a great time was had by all (except our gun-shy dogs). We had a pretty good one this year too, despite efforts by our Dear Leader & his ilk.

  2. The Mrs.... said

    Probably we ought to give it a bit more thought these days too, as we seem to be losing that independence albeit to a different entity altogether.
    Forgot all about those watermelon seed spitting contests my grandfather used to have us kids do. Funny thing, I don’t recall there ever being a prize for winning! lol

  3. Lynne Z said

    Hey Laura – yes there was a pize – you got to pull his finger! Hahaha

  4. The Mrs.... said

    hahaha… yep, you’re right…I forgot about the finger.

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