Independence Day 2018…


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Today is July 4th, Independence Day here in America with visions of parades and barbecues and people getting together with friends and neighbors up and down the entire country. I remember my first July 4th barbecue way back in 1967. We had only been in the country for four months and so many of the American traditions and celebrated holidays were still new to us with the Independence Day celebration no exception. Actually, it was the first of the American Holidays that we celebrated.

My Mother, and her American Husband, Hermie who had sponsored us over, decided that they were going to put on an American July 4th picnic for the family with a few of the Neighbors thrown into the mix. We all drove to one of the local lakes and staked ourselves a spot that came complete with a barbecue pit and a couple of picnic tables. We were surrounded by other groups all duty bound to celebrate July 4th in the Good Old American Traditional way of the Barbecue. We were no different and although all this merrymaking was a bit strange to us stalwart British types, we vowed to join in and enjoy ourselves. As much as I can recall from an event that happened more than fifty one years ago, we had a good time and quickly learned the ropes of how to consume barbecued hot dogs covered in mustard and relish and in my case, drinking lots of beer. We even learned the good old standbye game of volleyball and the rudimentals of baseball as people from all different groups mixed together for the occasion and played pick up games for which we joined in with much enthusiasm and very little skill or knowledge of what we were doing.

Since that first July 4th celebration, many Independence Days have come and gone. Some have been celebrated with a different cast of players much as in the same way as the first one. My Mother and Stepfather are both gone and the children all grown with families of their own and far flung in this country. My wife at the time, you may well ask, a different story. Many Independence Days have been ignored either because there was nothing to celebrate at that particular time of my life or other circumstances that age by itself produces. I no longer eat hot dogs in any form or variety  having decided that they are not the healthiest of food and due to an unfortunate run in with a local judge several years ago, no longer drink beer or any form of alcoholic beverage. To me, July 4th, Independence Day to this Great Nation, is just another day on the Calendar as are so many days as I age. Now, every day is something to celebrate.

Looking back to that very first celebration all of those years ago, I was pleasantly surprised by the enthusiasm shown by the many revellers at the picnic site we were at. We too were young then comparatively speaking with a whole new life ahead of us and it seemed very apt to be celebrating it the way we did on July 4th. Now, I am more than a little sad thinking of those events that happened half a century ago. Too bad that things didn’t work out as planned but that is a different story.

Written July 4, 2018

 

Welcome to 2016, now slow down…


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I wonder what this year will bring. I am too old to think in material terms anymore and besides, If I need something I buy it. No, I was thinking more in the way of life and death, good and evil and people at their best or heaven forbid, their worst.

For example, there were idiots still setting off fireworks at 1:00 am this morning in my neighborhood. While I bow to their freedom of choice to waste their money on fireworks and watch it go up in smoke, I do wish that they had more consideration of their neighbors who wanted to sleep.  1:00 am is bit much if you ask me.

Everywhere I go I see small acts of kindness and respect, just not enough of them. People holding doors open for others or picking something up that another person has dropped, all with a smile and a “You’re welcome”. I was struggling to get down something from a high shelf in the Home Depot just the other day and a voice at my elbow said, “Here, let me help you”. I turned and saw a very nice looking lady who happened to be taller than me (which is not unusual anymore) who calmly reached up and took down the item I needed. I thanked her profusely after I got over my first reaction of surprise and mentioned that the roles were reversed with her helping me instead of the other way around. She just smiled and pointed out that she was taller than me and that being a woman had nothing to do with it. Good answer.

It seems that good manners are getting to be a thing of the past and is dying out as the older generations pass on. Maybe, I am just out of touch with the world around me and not usually being in a hurry myself, am often reminded whether it is driving or just walking around a store, that others are and wish me out of their way generally in no uncertain terms. Even though they may not say anything, their words and action clearly indicate their displeasure that this old coot is moving so slow or taking too long or whatever it may be.

They may not realize that I am just as miffed at them for feeling this way. What happened to good old fashioned tolerance and patience. When did the world become a racetrack with people the cars all whizzing around and around and generally with no place to go but the need to get wherever it is in a hurry.

Life is too short to wish it by so fast. if anything, people should be slowing down to get more out of it just as I am. Whether by choice or old age, it takes me twice as long to get somewhere and even longer if I am working on one of my many home projects. Hopefully, by using my version of mathmatics, I will add  an additional extra couple of years on my life…