Food and Freedom
Well, toast my buns and bake my beans! Next Wednesday is already the Fourth of July. Seriously? How in the name of John Phillips Sousa did we get this far into the year this fast? Will somebody tap the brakes just a little, please?
Be that as it may, the holiday of flags, food, fairs, family reunions and fireworks is upon us. Will you celebrate at our own homegrown annual picnic and fireworks show at La Crescenta Elementary. This has rightfully become a cherished tradition over the years for thousands of locals (my family, included) and non-locals alike.
Fortunately, we CV denizens can choose from several nearby celebrations including the mother of all fireworks festivities at the Rose Bowl, the decidedly more upscale and privileged atmosphere of the Lacy Park Fourth Festivities in tony San Marino and others.
For what it’s worth, my vote goes to the celebration at La Crescenta Elementary. Support your local pyrotechnics, I always say.
If you’ve followed My Thoughts, Exactly recently, you know why this will be the first year I don’t have to close up all of the windows in my home and put a stack of CDs in the stereo to blare throughout the house while we’re gone so that our dogs hear less of the bombs bursting in air. We’ve also always left lights on and curtains closed so our canine clowns couldn’t see the bright flashes in the nighttime sky. After all, there’s nothing like coming home from a wonderful fireworks display to find that a pair of neurotic, jittery, freaked out, quaking, mentally unstable, 80-pound hounds have spent the last several hours clawing their way into closets, behind sofas, under beds and any other place they could break-and-enter to try and escape the apocalyptic clamor coming from the valley below. Sigh. I sure do miss those pups.
But back to the holiday at hand.
As you probably know (unless you’ve been interviewed by Jay Leno lately) the Fourth of July commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. And in case you’re wondering, there was no annual Fourth of July Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest for all the brand spanking new U.S. citizens back then. Not to step on my colleague, Mike Lawler’s historical toes, but archival records tell us that before firing off a loud round of artillery to salute the occasion, General George Washington marked the Independence Day holiday by giving his soldiers not foot-long hot dogs (or burgers or corn on the cob for that matter), but a double ration of rum. Those colonials knew how to party, right?
Speaking of parties worthy of the history books, the Bristol Fourth of July Parade in Rhode Island has been held since 1785, making it the oldest continuous Independence Day celebration in the U.S. That’s impressive. Then again, I think the Montrose Christmas Parade is that old, isn’t it? Or maybe it just feels that way when you’re waiting in between slow moving entries. But I digress.
I can’t let this Fourth pass without mentioning those who continue to make it all possible – our military. There’s a Facebook meme making the rounds this week that shows a bleak photo of an American soldier traipsing through desolate sands of Afghanistan along with a caption that reads: “I was going to complain about my day today, but then I realized … It isn’t 120 degrees. I’m not 5,700 miles from home. I’m not dressed in full uniform. I’m not carrying 70-plus lbs of gear. And there is little chance of me driving over a bomb today. Thanks to all who serve.” Amen to that.
So let the fireworks fly! Let the burgers grill and pass the ’tater salad, please. Let freedom ring – and may God in His boundless grace and mercy continue to bless America.
Happy Fourth of July, everyone.
I’ll see you ‘round town.