THE SONIC BOOMER
Did you have a wonderful Fourth of July? I did.
I mean, even though I am writing this in advance of the holiday, I know I will have a wonderful July 4.
In the first place, this year it’s in the middle of the week. A free day!
There is nothing like a holiday messing up your work schedule to help one relax. While all the other holidays have been moved to Monday and/or merged together, a Thursday holiday is so refreshingly retro. (“When I was young, we had Lincoln’s Birthday and Washington’s Birthday — none of this Presidents’ Day garbage.” “Wow, Grandma. How old are you?”).
Celebrating July 4 on the fourth day of July reminds me of the olden days when we celebrated holidays as they occurred. We also had real time instead of Daylight Saving Time, but I am being redundant, if delightfully dotty.
In the second place, the Fourth of July does not require activity. No cards must be sent, presents wrapped, phone calls made. If you want to make a big deal out of it, grill some weenies then head on over to the park for the fireworks. Done.
In the third place, fireworks. Unless you’re a dog or a horse — and most of my readers are not — there is just something awesome and breathtaking about exploding balls of fire in the sky. There are some unusual shapes and colors these days, but my favorite fireworks continue to be what my dad calls “duds.” They whistle their way up there, pause for effect, and then BOOM! No colors, just the leaves shaking right off the trees.
In the fourth place, that’s it. Following the traffic jam leaving said park, people simply go home. No one has to stand around waiting for a ball to drop or for a guy in a red suit to show up. It’s a family thing — everyone in bed by 10.
Of course, if you want to, you can reflect on the reason for the day off work and the weenies and the fireworks — America’s independence.
My version goes something like this:
The British, who came to America to colonize, it were seeking freedom, but they still liked their tea. When Parliament decided to tax them for it, that was the last straw.
“They don’t even invite us to vote in Parliament! We’ll grow our own tea leaves; it can’t be that difficult,” was the prevailing school of thought. So they dumped the tea into the Boston Harbor (one fine mess, that was) as a form of rebellion.
The reality also dawned that this country had plenty of non-plundered natural resources (thanks to the conservation-minded Native Americans) and the colonists could be self-reliant. They could grow their own corn, make their own soap, dip their own candles and never, ever put a tax on anything. Ever.
Of course, that was before they needed roads. And schools. And libraries.
Not to mention public parks to shoot off fireworks in.