"May it be to the world, what I believe it will be ...
the signal of arousing men to burst the chains ...
and to assume the blessings and security of self-government.
[...] All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. ...
For ourselves, let the annual return of this day
forever refresh our recollections of these rights,
and an undiminished devotion to them."
(in a letter written on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence)
[I luv, luv, luv this picture]
Last year we were able to get Dad up and dressed before the neighborhood 4th of July parade came by the house. People came over and shook his hand. This year I decided to join them rather then fight the gnawing reminder that Dad isn't here. So Suzi and I dressed up in our best red, white and blue attire while my menfolk slept and walked around the block.
As parades go, this one was not the longest, most enthusiastic, or most organized. However it was dog friendly! There was some disgruntlement by past volunteers that the new president had neglected to start the parade with a prayer and Pledge of Allegiance. Mostly people were put out that the tables laden with cold, ripe watermelon were missing. Maybe the new guy on the block figured no one would want to eat watermelon at 9am.
[Don't you think it's cool when your hair matches your outfit?]
I guess in any group situation you're going to find something or someone to fuss about. What I noticed today was a) how many people dressed up, showed up, smiled, and greeted neighbors they probably only wave out when passing on the street. It felt for a brief moment the way a neighborhood is supposed to feel (in my opinion) - homey in an old fashioned way. I liked it. And I thought to myself I could be sad because we live in an age of stranger danger and text messaging so face to face contact is usually short and too the point. Or I could be the change I wanted to see. I may not go knocking on my neighbor's doors, but I am going to start being more aware and less isolated. It helps that I have a canine version of the welcome wagon to take on walks with me. Miss Q feels it is her obligation to say hello to everyone she meets, young or old, human or animal, friendly or grumpy. And really, it's kind of hard to stay grumpy when a dog sticks her nose in your hand and says "Hi, wanna be friends?" Jon Katz writes of the work of dogs. I'm pretty sure Suzi's work it to greet people. Maybe we could get a job at Walmart!
You know all our forefathers and mothers who stepped got on a boat and sailed away from England not really knowing what they were going to find or have to endure were pretty brave and full of faith. It's not a stretch to think that the blood of those pioneers runs through all of us who call America home. Like a lot of homes it could use some improvements but at the end of the day it is a place where we are free to be you and me (at least in theory!). Oh that it could be so the world over.
Today I'm grateful for purple mountains majesty, amber waves of grain, Pilgrims' pride, Liberty bells, hot dogs, apple pie, ice cold watermelon, cheaper (somewhat) gas prices, John Phillip Sousa, marching bands, patriots who put their life on the line for America - a place to call home, and dogs who, unlike kids, continue posing for a picture long after it's not fun anymore.
Wishing for you a sparkly day filled with down home good cheer,