It's cooler today than it has been. 96 is much more comfortable than 106, and the breeze is soft enough that it's not disturbing the sand. My contact lens and I are quite thankful for that. The sky is pure blue, "painted that way" as G'ma says every time she looks up. The flag is swaying, the pole attached to one of the front columns with thin, silver wire. It's an elegant solution to TBG's reluctance to put holes in his house; I feel like Daddooooo every time I wrap another ring around the post.
Daddooooo was big on flags and the 4th of July. We always went to the beach. We always stopped at Custom Bakers in Long Beach on the way home, where the bakers always let us go back and stick our fingers in the vats of frosting. We always went to the boardwalk and watched the fireworks. There were skeeball games and mechanical fortune tellers and the smell of the ocean, too black to be seen but too noisy to go unnoticed. We practiced our ooohs and aahhhs all afternoon, and we were in fine form by the time the booms and the bangs began.
Through it all, the flags were flying. There was a big one in the bracket beside the garage door, until the house was painted and further holes were frowned upon (is this some kind of male thing I just don't get?). A pole-holding-tube was sunk into the flower box, and while it was neither sturdy nor attractive, it did the job and as far as Daddooooo was concerned that was that. There was a plastic flag attached to the car's antenna, and all our bicycles had flags on the handlebars. Today, our house is the only one in the neighborhood displaying Old Glory. In this red state, land of SB1070 and concealed weaponry, it makes me smile to think that only the Jewish girl from Long Island is flying the flag.
There are other things that happen on the 4th of July, and one of them is the Nathan's Hot Dog eating contest. It was like a train wreck, gripping my attention with its grizzly awfulness. The contestants, like Shredder Goldstein, have many qualifying credentials. One is the Green Bean Eating Champion, another an exotic pet owner, a third a dietary nutritionist. Most of them look the way you're imagining guys who eat 50 or 60 hot dogs in 10 minutes look like, but some are as slim as angel hair pasta. There was hype and there were funny ads for Pepto Bismol but we had to turn it off once they started to consume the hot dogs and buns. This was not eating. It was awful.
I went out front and looked at the flag against the blue sky. Maybe I'll collect G'ma and we'll sit in a parking lot outside Wally-World and watch some fireworks. It won't be the ocean, but it might be fun.