Happy birthday, USA !!!!! We celebrate our country, its freedom from England, its birth as a "new" country regulating itself. (Wonder what the native Americans think of all that, really, they were rather taken over.) And, new to the US or here from centuries ago, we unite in this holiday, and celebrate the good that is to be had here:) Freedom, independence, liberty. Maybe someday, Northern Ireland will have that, too, from England. Maybe more countries will find peace and freedom than have it currently.
It's getting dark out now, still raining some. It's rained off and on this afternoon (with tornado warnings). Not enough to thwart fireworks celebrations, nope, not THAT much rain:)
M is with her dad tonight. Normally the every/other holiday means until 8 p.m. for July 4th. I questioned that, but my lawyer pointed out that he and his lawyer requested that, so oh well. So, C and I switched another night last Spring or so, and she'll stay with him overnight tonight. Only her second time for Independence Day fireworks (with him / away from me), her very favorite holiday. It feels a bit weird (however, I am okay). Friday we'll celebrate with family, fireworks in another town as if for M's birthday. She used to think that the fireworks anytime this week were for her birthday:) Eh, it works. We always go to a particular local fireworks show, AND to this one with my mother / Bob.
Last night, M remembered the one time we went downtown (as in, downtown Washington, D.C.). "It rained. Hard! I remember us hiding under the pillars." Not exactly "under" the pillars, M. We went in sunlight to see the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence the last day possible before the Archives Building was going to close up for a long time. (It's since reopened.) We'd stood in line for hours, plural, yes, hours, yet were one of the last hundred or so let in. It started to pour, and the fireworks started soaring, rebelling that anything would stop its red glare, and other magnificent colors. M hugged the pillars of the Archives building, moving around them. Our view was grand and memorable. I found a tossed umbrella that didn't protect us all that much, as we sloshed our way with the masses back to "the" Metro (subway).
I remember one year, probably a middle schooler, when my father took my brother, Doug, and I, to Ocean City (Maryland). I was allowed a bit of unchaperoned time to wander the shops on the boardwalk, and found myself a silver ring with one blue star and one red star. I still have it. I forgot until just now, though, so I'm not wearing it. Or, M's borrowed it. This morning, M asked for my "red, white, and blue" shoes. We'd bought matching stars and stripes sneakers super cheap some years ago. She always thought mine were so ugly, so big. Yet, THIS year, hers long out grown and our feet now the same size, she wanted them:) We always get fun shirts to wear, sometimes headbands, whatever, do it up. I'm glad she's still enjoying herself. I'm fairly certainly which town they are enjoying events in today and tonight, too.
This morning, I told M to hold on a moment for something, as Birthday Girl was taking my attengion. "Huh?" M was confused a moment, thinking I meant her. "Miss Liberty!" "Oh!" Liberty, aka, Libby, got some extra attention and extra turkey-flavored treats. Her brother, Mr. Independence aka Indie, meowed and meowed, insistent upon joining Daisy and I for our morning walk. For about 5 minutes. Then he pulled us back across the street towards home. He snuck out later just as M was coming back outside to join Daisy and I (later walk), and C was pulling up. Daisy trotted and sniffed herself up to the 3rd floor level, looked out the landing as M got into C's truck which, of course, drove away. Daisy was alarmed and bolted downstairs as if to say, "Why did that man abscond with our M again? Where'd she go?" Daisy started diligently tracking C's scent. Bad Boy Independence had gone around back, without his lease. We spent time walking alongside of his excursions onto every patio and bush in the block, somewhat guiding him home.
Everyone safely inside or gone, I left for the stores. First stop, ordered clearance desk for M's room. She'd measured and diagramed. Then, can I FINALLY find some black pants for myself? Also found a lot of things for Dad, including yeah, a nice comforter that'll go nicely, was on sale, and comes with sheets and pillow cases. Of course, he doesn't think he needs it (but he does, and has). I bought the matching throw pillow which he's most excited for, lol. I may have to go back and pick up another one.
A few hours there at Dad's meant I could talk at length with the main contractor working on the needed home repairs, and his assistant. Rain having come into the home unabated over time has not been kind, nor have the carpenter ants. We talk of other issues, too. I usually don't get to visit in the daytime when they are around. I'm relieved to determine that this is a good man, and knowledgable, and take his number which he'd offered. I've been checking out new refrigerators for Dad, and main contractor talks with me about that as well. He says that my father is sometimes very clear-headed, gives a laugh, "especially when it comes to numbers." I go to mention that Dad had been an accountant, and he waves, "Oh, I know." I forgot for a moment, this is the main human contact Dad's had for a few weeks now. Of course this man knows. This is good. His assistant also speaks with sensitive perspective and a hard working attitude, suggesting ways I can bleach some of the basement ceiling so they'll only have to replace other portions that are too water damaged. I'd dreaded actually seeing the basement and damage, so had not yet gone down there. This man was eager to show me his progress, and, it was looking great at this stage. So many items we'd stored there; I'd wondered about my late grandmother's glassware, Dad's books, not remembering I had former years tax returns of my own also stored there now too damaged.
I stayed with Dad a bit after the men left, then go to get a few mid-week groceries. Dogwalking neighbor sees me and we chat some. She's happy home repairs are being done, still brings up the mail occasionally. We say good bye and I go in and make Dad fresh salmon and cut up salad items for dinner he says he's not hungry enough to eat. But, it's there and about now, he's likely eaten it. He had food, sure, yet, somehow, it felt better to clean up some things, take the old maybe washable comforter and other clothes to wash, and, make dinner, take time beyond going over the mail and must do items. Dad wasn't his best today, yet, it wasn't bad. He asked that I get something for M for her birthday (which I had not mentioned, he remembered himself even while needing me to remind him last week of my brother / his son's birthday). I did bring a card he signed and I addressed and put in the mail for her from him. I'm glad to hear the overall opinion of the main contractor. I am pleased to see money helping things, yet, it's still a matter of time for my father. Money really isn't everything.
Independence. What DOES that mean? To a new teenager, it can mean unchaperoned timein a public place, or a day left home alone (not YET, only portions of a day so far forM). To a pet, the thrill of sneaking outside with a safe place to return to. To the divorcing / divorced, a return to making decisions (and having responsibilities) for oneself. To the elderly, a chance to remain in ones own home, perhaps not give up control (fully, yet). To the soldier and those who work with them, the greater freedom they commit their lives to (sometimes, sadly, literally). WEDNESDAY HERO-4th of July
In some ways, we're all still quite interdepent upon each other. I do rejoice today, for M, for life, and as sappy as it sounds, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Independence and self-government. Hard won, to be cherished, worldwide even just as N is doing in a country many hours ahead of me at the moment in spectacular fashion. (Okay, I admit it, daggonit, I've loved getting his e-mails "hello from" so far away.) Parades and fireworks I've seen in D.C., Santa Barbara, California, Beech Ridge Speedway in Maine, and all over Montgomery County, Maryland (particularly as it's grown in population in the past, um, how old am I, over 40 years).
We are a country, and we are connected to each other, and have much to be proud of. Let us remember that we're connected to all the others in the world as well.
Happy Independence Day:)
Francis Scott Key, while near Fort McHenry outside Baltimore, Maryland, said it well: "....and the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air, gave proof through the night that the flag was STILL THERE. Oh, say does that star spangled banner yet wave, over the land of the free, and the home of the brave."
For other great, patriotic quotes, please see Win's entry: Independence Day