Do as the Deltonans do. So we did. We went to the 4th of July Parade. It’s been a couple of years since we spent a 4th of July in the good ol’ U.S. of A. Two years ago we were in Ireland, and I was surprised at how much the Irish got into celebrating OUR independence day. They even had special “American” foods (pancakes, maple syrup, and root beer festooned with American flags) on sale at the grocery store. When we went to Church, as the only Americans in the congregation (along with the missionaries) we were wished a happy 4th of July from the pulpit.
I think the Irish excitement had a lot to do with the fact that they’d achieved their own independence from the same colonial power, but much more recently than we. The Irish War of Independence is still within living memory, and they love the chance to celebrate another huge historical embarrassment to their overbearing neighbor.
Last year in Tunisia, the 4th of July passed pretty much without a blip. I don’t think we did anything at all to celebrate, and the Tunisians were mostly preoccupied with their own independence.
This year we’re firmly ensconced in small-town U.S.A., and we were invited to the traditional 4th of July BBQ hosted by a family in the ward who live on the Lake Helen 4th of July Parade route. On the menu were all-you-can-eat giant hot dogs, and a variety of potluck side dishes like baked beans, mac&cheese, frog eye salad, and an abundance of red, white and blue desserts.
The parade was dominated by vehicles like this:
In the end, the guy we saw on the way in the beat-up pickup truck with the huge confederate flag didn’t make it into the parade (I can’t seem to get used to the confederate flags and racist bumper stickers here). But this did:
Adding to the political overtones, a good portion of the cars (and an even larger portion of the candy) was sponsored by local politicians, some of whom also marched in the parade. I’m not sure if we should consider this bribery of constituents:
There was a snazzy little train,
a lot of horses,
and an obscene amount of candy thrown to the children.
Before the parade, our hosts had passed out grocery bags to the children to hold the candy. I couldn’t imagine enough candy would be thrown to fill a grocery bag per child, but it was.
Happy 4th of July. It’s been a real American holiday.