Sunday, July 6, 2008

Land of the Free, Home of the Brave

It's been awhile since I last felt bloggy. Busy summer, but it's been all good. I live in Ashland, Oregon which is home to one of the most hilariously high-minded fourth of July parades that you'll find in today's 'merica. Our little town of 20,000 pulls out the far left and far right in a sort of liberty soup that is simultaneously tasty and bitter. I guess that's why they call it democracy.

As you know, I'm a bullet-y kind of blogger. Here are some of my favorite moments of July 4th, 2008.
  • My daughter Juliet and I walked in the parade with the "Friends of the Ashland Public Library". I was handed a strange, large faux book with, "Let's Make Tracks to Hit the Stacks" written on it in large letters. I have to say it was really weird to have so many people looking at us and applauding our dutiful chant, "Open Books, Open Minds, Open Libraries -- thanks -- to -- you". I got off easy, as my friend Julie had to lead the whole group in front with the banner. She was the prom queen of literacy. I felt like a bit of fraud, as my kids and wife are avid library visitors but I've barely stepped into our local branch. But I know how to wave fake books around in front a crowd with the best of them...

  • A tiny poodle being pulled through the parade in a tiny red wagon.

  • Not seeing publicity-hound "The Pastie Lady" at any point during the day. Apologies for all the banjo-playing comments on the story featured in this link. We have all kinds down in Southern Oregon.

  • Hearing the sound of bagpipes. I must have been Scottish in a previous life.

  • Having a barbecue later in the day with some friends, and watching all of the kids play in the yard. There's something really peaceful about barefoot kids screaming and laughing, and running laps around the house. The Banzai Blast Water Slide was a big hit, as usual.

  • Re-discovering Shasta's Tiki Punch - a 1970's classic that is still 200 calories per 12 oz of awesomeness. Hey, I hear your cries of "inappropriate for children!" But don't worry, it's completely caffeine free. I think this was Hank's primary fuel all day long. His lips were permanently fruit punch red until the next morning.

  • Home-made ice cream and my awkward white trash firework show in the front yard, followed by a rousing finale of the real thing downtown. I'm a cynic at heart, but standing next to my family and watching fireworks in the sky always makes me proud to be an American - even if we almost burned our house down while watching the big show.

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