Archive for July, 2007

July 4, 2007

Fourth of July Word Pictures, 2007

In Baltimore, Marland, a three year old girl in a blue and white paisley sunsuit holds her first Fourth of July sparkler, her eyes wide with delight and apprehension. It takes her maybe thirty seconds to figure out how to swing it in circles and she laughs out loud. She can do this all by herself! She can do anything!

A six year old girl with her mother and some friends, stands near the fountains at Meridian Park in Baltimore, staring at the colored water in the fountains as they spray far above her head. Many years later she’ll still remember the cool wet spray on her warm arms, and the soft pastel bursts of water, with fireworks in the distance against this Fourth of July night sky.

A nine year old girl in Pekin, Illinois, longs for just one box of the black snakes that when lit, snake along the sidewalk to the delight of all her friends. Everyone but her has their own box. She didn’t have a quarter in time to buy one and by the time she did, the store had run out. She vows to herself that next year she’ll have her own. She never does, and she never forgets watching on the sidelines while everyone else had fun on the Fourth of July that year.

A fifteen year old girl in Washington, D.C., watches the Fourth of July fireworks across the Basin with her first serious boyfriend. The night is dark and romantic and nearby, fireflies dot the landscape while fireworks light the sky, a truly magic moment. She decides right then that the red fireworks are her favorites. She never changes her mind about that, at least.

Four years later she stands with her first child, a daughter, watching the same fireworks, remembering the little girl and her first sparkler. Her daughter sleeps as the red, white, blue and yellow flowers burst across the sky. In a couple of years this child will hold her own sparklers. Life moves on, marked, in part, by Fourth of July in America.

Many years later, in a small town outside of Chicago, the same woman sits with a noisy, wonderful group of good friends, eating grilled corn on the cob, swimming in the pool. There are no children. All their children are grown and gone, so the adults present revert to their own childhoods, lighting their own massive fireworks display, laughing, oohing and aahing at the colors flashing far above their heads, loving their lives and each other. This will be the last time these friends are all together on Fourth of July.

A few years later the same woman rides in her car with her husband, returning on Fourth of July night from a trip downstate to see their grandchildren. The sky is black, there are no street lights on the expressway this far out in the country. You can’t see the towns they pass, but far in the distance, in every town, there are bursts of wild color, beautiful multicolored night flowers in the sky, haunting reminders that everywhere on this night, someone is watching those celebratory fireworks with their own children, loving their lives, their holiday, and their country.

I hope you all have a safe and happy Fourth of July, folks. Hots and I love you all, you know we do. Please come back soon, and remember, as I am on this day, that in spite of all the politically inspired shennanigans going on here recently, how lucky we really are to live and love each other in this United States of America.

May God preserve our union and our way of life and watch over our soldiers in the Mideast. We pray they’ll be back home with us to celebrate our next Fourth of July.

Beth Anderson and Hotclue Herself. (And Sarge says ‘hey’.)

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