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Sunday, July 4, 2010

A Golden Day

Today is the quintessential summer day.

Every leaf waves, every flower smiles. The rabbits are leaving gifts of “smart pills” in my backyard, having eaten some of my tastier flowers; small birds gossip in the raucous and disrespectful grape vines that have engulfed the “good-neighbor” fence; and the kitties sit in the windows on the second floor, slit-eyed and content, dreaming of slow-moving mice.

Northeast Minneapolis, after all, is a lovely place to live; and the sidewalks and the park across the street are summer personified in that dog-walking, soccer-playing, ice-cream-truck-melody way of summer in the city.

Today is the quintessential summer day. And tonight is the quintessential American night.

Today is Independence Day, AKA “The Fourth of July”. We are flag-waving, red-white-and-blue wearing patriots, grateful for our soldiers, our volunteers. Winter is a memory, summer is a warm, heady reality; and as the sun sets, the pyrotechnic among us gather, in large and small parks, in yards and alleys. Some of these are sanctioned events, simulcast to John Phillip Sousa and the Boston Pops on the radio and attended by thousands in open fields; and some of these are unsanctioned, groups of children running through yards, spelling their names with Sparklers, throwing Black Cats and shooting Bottle Rockets.

I steer clear of the large events, personally. The mosquito-to-drunk ratio in an open field is too high for my blood, and I tend to attract both.

I’ll be celebrating the anniversary of The United States, as so many of us will: at a party with family and friends, eating grilled food, drinking cold beer.

And when the sun sets, I’ll be found in the alley behind my house – where there is a clear view of Minneapolis’s fireworks and the pavement tends to be unfavorable to mosquitoes yet provides sturdy footing for drunken patriots.

The United States is another year older, people.

U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!

20 comments:

Georgina Dollface said...

Have fun today! Like you, I'm not a crowd person so I prefer to enjoy hoildays at home with my family. Our big day here was July 1, Canada Day, and we all go nuts too with flags, facepaints and silly hats with maple leafs on them. - G

Ugich Konitari said...

Happy Birthday, USA ! Pearl, are you making 3 bean salad ? Just asking ....:-)

FabuLeslie said...

This post is very Garrison-Keillor-esque. Your writing always makes me smile. Your mention of John Phillip Sousa reminds me of my days in high school band, with a band director who so loved a good Sousa march.

I'm not up for crowds either. Or heat. I will probably be safe and cool inside my 400-square-foot castle watching some marathon of one reality tv show or another, trying new recipes every 5 hours or so, and walking the dog every 30 minutes. Mmmm. Summer is GRAND!

Fragrant Liar said...

Aaaahhhh, you painted a beautiful day and I was right there with you. I'll be spending early evening at a beloved niece's party and then escaping the high kidsrunningamok-to-drunk ratio to the country club, via the golf course, to watch the fireworks from my foldy chair, 9th hole, in peace.

Douglas said...

Ah yes, many the night have I spent in an alley. Not always on the 4th of July, either. But drunk and looking for a stable place to stand... or sit... or lie down. I am all burnt out on the fireworks thing, though. Nothing is what it once was... it really hasn't been the same since they burned down the Dania Beach pier one 4th of July. Nothing could beat that spectacle.

IndigoWrath said...

Hey Pearl! I loved the opening of this, it reminded me of a snippet from Dylan Thomas' UNDER MILK WOOD

"... the dogs in the wetnosed yards; and the cats nap in the slant corners or lope sly, streaking and needling, on the one cloud of the roofs."

Happy Fourth Of July! Indigo

Sarah said...

I plan to drive up a hill and catch some of the fireworks in SF Bay if the clouds cooperate. I'll be clear-eyed since I'm not a drinker. Happy 4th of July!

Pearl said...

Georgina, have I ever told you how much I love Canadians? :-) Well, I do!

Ugich, who told you about the three-bean salad?! I love it. But no -- since this person always has plenty of food and drink I am bringing flowers for her home.

FabuLeslie (great name!), thank you so much! I, too, was in marching band, playing a number of instruments for, oooh, six years? Wow. And I absolutely love parades still. I should write about that...

Fragrance, my friend, a foldy chair on a golf course sounds peaceful and dark. I like it.

Douglas, a burning pier would be something, all right!

Indigo, Wow! Thank you so much. I am embarrassed to tell you that I don't think I know any Dylan Thomas but now must get a book or two. Truth be told, I do know one Dylan Thomas poem: And Death Shall Have No Dominion. I was a rather melancholy/serious child, in love with the love of complexities of life and so named my son (only child) Dylan. Everyone thinks he was named after Bob Dylan (MN poet/songwriter/singer) but the naming was actually after Dylan Thomas and that one beautiful poem.


Thank you, everyone. I get nervous about writing when I'm not trying to be clever and so, to use one of my new words, I am quite chuffed. :-)

Ugich Konitari said...

Pearl,

As a "pucca" (this word is in the Oxford dict) vegetarian, the 3 bean salad , along with potato salad (without the bacon bits) was my favourite at 4th of July picnics, as a grad student 40 years ago in Calif.

I still make the 3 bean salad here; it just came to mind while reading your really nice post :-)

Madame DeFarge said...

Chuffed is such a good word to use and long may you need to use it. Great post and hope you had a fine day.

Madame DeFarge said...

Chuffed is such a good word to use and long may you need to use it. Great post and hope you had a fine day.

mrwriteon said...

And a very glorious 4th to you, lovely and ever so smart friend.

Teena in Toronto said...

Happy Fourth of July!

Cheeseboy said...

Black Cats and shooting Bottle Rockets are legal in Minn? WE have no such luck here. Probably due to the horrible fire danger.

Your fourth sounds so much more relaxing and laid back than mine.

Teresa Evangeline said...

Almost the end of the day, but didn't want it to get there without saying what a fine 4th of July post this is. Love the poignant, in an odd sort of way, ending in the alley. So glad I caught this this evening.

美方 said...

人生是故事的創造與遺忘。............................................................

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

You paint a wonderful picture. Funny thing, our alley offers a view of the fireworks at the State Fair grandstand during the fair. It's a partially obstructed view, but there are fireworks 12 nights in a row! (I wrote about 4th of July fireworks today, too.)

IndigoWrath said...

Chuffed?! A fine English word! I use it all the time! Glad it's made it to the other side of the water!

Tempo said...

Pearls in a good mood tonight... Have fun Pearl..have fun America

powdergirl said...

Happy Birthday , Neighbor!

The only 4th of July I ever spent in the U.S, I had a fantastic time tubing down Apple River(which is either in South Dakota or Minnesota, or mAYbe.. okay, I forget, it was long ago and it was far away, and it was so much better than it is today, at least according to Meatloaf, but it was awesome, we partied like it was our favorite neighbors birthday !

Mosquitoe's? phht, I'm a Manitoba farm girl, the Mosquito is our provincial bird, I have a tattoo of a mosquito on my lower abdomen, I know, don't you wish you'd have thought of that? I drink.

Thanks for the re-visit : )