At the Saturday market, I overheard one of the vendors say – when I was a kid, Fourth of July meant decorating my bike with red white and blue streamers and then riding it in a kid parade. And fireworks, of course. We had to have those.
So, I guess not much has changed.
On Sunday morning, the neighborhood kids decorated their bikes and rode them to the park up the street for a parade...
...and last night, I watched from the rooftop of my condo the Rhythm & Booms fireworks display. Six miles away, but still lovely to see. To my right, the Capitol. To my left, explosions of color.
In my mind, the Fourth is also a time to acknowledge that we are a nation of people who love to heat up those little coals outdoors. A week ago, when I was chatting to a German expat living in France about a possible future apartment rental there, he said – oh, and we have just the thing for you! I worked at a military base in Germany with Americans, so I know that you all are really into outdoor grilling! We have a grill you can use!
He was shocked and disappointed to learn that we weren’t likely to use one while vacationing in France.
But here, the habit of grilling has somewhat rubbed off on me and we do have a small imitation Weber on the balcony and I intend to put it to firey use tonight. Grilled everything: turkey brats, corn, onion, potatoes, tomatoes, asparagus, peaches...
That’s for tonight. This afternoon, I'm taking a stroll through the park where the Hill Farms Neighborhood Association (I live just at the edge of Hill Farms) has brought together families from our community for a spirited celebration. The men are, of course, grilling.
The kids? They know all about celebrating. Tell them it's an outdoor birthday party for America, and they're happy as anything to fully engage in the event. Today, they came in red, white and blue and as they ran races and had their faces painted an asked for the balloon man to make them an animal, I thought to myself – we’d be a somber lot if we did not have kids running around underfoot reminding us to lighten up. Kids and kegs of beer. And grilled burgers and watermelon.
Happy Fourth of July to all!