I woke up this morning with thoughts of Dad dancing in my head. To be more precise with thoughts of Dad and the neighborhood 4th of July parade of a few years ago. I remember rushing Dad to get dressed, and how that rushing only slowed down the process. As the fire engine came up the hill, John Philip Sousa blared from a loud speaker. We managed to get Dad to a presentable state of dress and hurried him down the hall. He made it to the front stoop as the first parade dogs passed by. Seeing Dad, kind of wobbly on his walker, the fire engine stopped to make sure he didn't miss anything. The local politicians came across the yard to shake Dad's hand. He may not have been the oldest patriot in the neighborhood, but he was near the top. I know politicians shake hands for a living, but I saw more than politics. I saw respect in the eyes of the shakers. I saw pride and joy in the eyes of my Dad. He never failed to stand a little taller and a tad straighter when a flag passed by.
I stood on the same stoop this morning. The parade consisted of a motorcycle, a fire engine, and about 25 people (kids and adults) dressed in patriotic garb - Uncle Sam hats, red, white and blue crepe paper streamers - with about as many dogs sporting bandannas. All of them waving and shouting greetings. I couldn't help it, I missed my father.
I read this quote on FB this morning:
"I know for certain that we never lose the people we love, even to death.
They continue to participate in every act, thought and decision we make.
Their love leaves an indelible imprint in our memories.
We find comfort in knowing that our lives have been enriched by having shared their love."
As I write this my mind travels to other 4th of July memories.
- A Drager family picnic in 1972. Uncle Jim's youngest brother dressed as Harpo Marx. The significance of which I cannot recollect.
- The first and only time I participated in a 5K run, in Coronado, CA Maybe it wasn't even that far. Probably it was more like 2K. Mostly I remember I thought it would never end, and a true "well what do you know, I made it" feeling.
- Attending the Prescott Rodeo in Arizona.
- Lying on our backs at Coronado Beach with fireworks electrifying the sky overhead.
- Somehow convincing Wendy to go with me to Balboa Park for an afternoon of John Philip Sousa music played by the Marine Band.
- Seeing the road less traveled up ahead and wondering which way to go.
- Falling in the creek while visiting Bluefield, VA with Laura and Robert.
- Planting flags on the graves at the Jacksonville National Cemetery.
I watched some shows last night on the History Channel about the Revolutionary War. It's so hard for me to imagine how a small band of patriots defeated the whole British army. As pictures of battlefields littered with bodies flitted across the TV screen, I couldn't help but think of all the men and women who have laid down their lives for the same principles of liberty and freedom; the immigrants who continue to seek refuge in this country for a piece of that hard won freedom.
I can only pray that the day will come when the birth rights of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" belong to everyone regardless of race, religion, age, gender, sexual preference, or whatever else might separate the haves from the have nots.
May it be so,
May it be so,