There was dry lightning this afternoon, but it had the grace to wait until long after Mr. 8 and GrandFarkle #7 had finished cavorting in the pool. JannyLou and I sat in the shade and gossiped until I gasped and realized that I'd become one of the old ladies sitting in the lounge chairs warning the kids to be careful as they jumped.... were they trying to leave brain matter on the pool deck? It wasn't that long ago that the old ladies were hollering at my Cuters.
In fact, it was probably exactly 20 years ago today, the Fourth of July, because where else but in the pool would we be on a hot and sunny afternoon in July in Chicago? We'd be watching the fireworks from TBG's office way near the top of the Sears Tower later that night. We'd have carry-in pizza, blankets and a portable radio to hear the Grant Park Symphony play the William Tell Overture to the synchronized fireworks above the lake. We were so high up that they burst at our eye level.
It was magical, denizens. simply magical.
As a little girl I went to the boardwalk in Long Beach with my cousins and siblings, all of us in the care of various combinations of adults from the neighborhood and our extended families. We played skeeball and had our fortunes read by the mechanical gypsy lady and squeezed the Love-O-Meter while we waited for the sun to set, and then for it to get really dark, and then for that first whooooooooooshhhhhhh signaling that it was time to rush to the ocean-side railing and look up and out, over the ocean, where red white and blue starbursts were crowding the sky.
The show had no musical accompaniment save the oooh's and aaaah's as we, not content to be spectators, became participants as we tried to out-do one another in our enthusiasm. There was cotton candy in my hair and someone was standing on my toe but it didn't matter at all because KAPOW there was another one, the kind with the white drops trickling down from the center of the explosion and I knew I just didn't want to be anyplace else but right there right then.
A high school friend ended an email like this
That about sums it up for me, too, today. It doesn't matter if I'm 5 or 9 or 59, if I am in the desert Southwest or at the eastern edge of America, it doesn't matter at all. I still feel like a lottery winner, living in a great country.... living..... not the same as I was but then what or who is? Our country put off the discussion of slavery for 20 years in order to get the compact signed and now we have a president who is much more than 3/5ths of a man. I have the handshake and conversation to prove it.
America is about growth and change and it's never easy or painless. Sometimes it feels like recovery, and I am here to affirm that rehab is hard. Sometimes it feels frustrating - imagine wanting to vote for someone other than President Obama .... do you have a viable option right now? Sometimes it is maddening - the Arizona State Gun, anyone?
But sometimes it's just wonderful. Sometimes we put aside our annoyances and grievances and break out the red white and blue and make our own bombs bursting in air and we recognize, we celebrate, we applaud, even if just for one fleeting moment, the fact that we can agree to disagree without tanks in the streets or the army keeping the peace.
I do feel like a lottery winner, living here in the USofA.
Happy Birthday, America!