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Sunday, July 05, 2009

Reflections on the Fourth

Since yesterday's post was consumed with Six Word Saturday, I thought I'd take a few minutes today to talk about what the Fourth of July means to me.

July 4th means two things to me: picnics and Go USA! birthdays and boys. Yeah, turns out this is a bit of a Sunday Confession.

First, the birthdays. My little brother, Rob, was born on July 4th. As such, of course he thought the big picnics and fireworks were for him. Eventually, he realized that it was odd the rest of us didn't receive such large celebrations. Truthfully, it was fun for me to make the day all about Rob. Even though I haven't spent his birthday with him in years, part of me still feels that the festivities are celebrating him.

Not to be forgotten, the 4th is also about boys. Specifically, fireworks are about boys. On one occasion (I think I was 15), I was invited to go see fireworks with the family of a guy that liked me. I liked him too but he was insanely shy. Short version is that I ended up making out with another guy throughout the evening. Looking back, probably this was poor form. But this other guy was someone I had liked forEVER (c'mon, you were 15 once!) and never thought I'd have a chance with so of course I was gonna go there when opportunity knocked!

And most notably, it was just before attending fireworks with Joe that he proposed for the first time. I say "for the first time" because we were so young, so new together, and he had no ring. We decided to be sort of pre-engaged or something and then he proposed for realz a year or so later, ring in hand all proper-like.

I should mention that it's not that I don't value and appreciate the freedoms are traditionally celebrated on this holiday. It's just that a lot of the politics have really disillusioned me. I liken it to organized religion vs. spirituality. I'm all about spirituality but most churches (and the politics there-in) turn me off. I'm all about my freedoms and the people who have served to ensure them - but the politics make it hard to rally behind The Big Day. Also, anything overly manipulative emotionally (*cough*Lee Greenwood*cough*) aggravates me. I'm also a big fan of "nothing wrong with having a special day but there are another 364 days you should remember the feeling as well". So perhaps that's part of why Independence Day isn't overly red, white and blue for me.

Whatever the Fourth of July means to you, I hope you had a good one.


mzbehavin said...

well said! and Happy Fourth! ( Fifth?)

Hit 40 said...

My husband and I also agreed to get married as kids long before a ring. He was still nervous to ask me when he actually got a ring. Too funny!!!

Melissa B. said...

What a thoughtful post for the 4th! Living in DC makes me cynical to the whole lallapolooza. Although I have to say that when Ella Numera Dos and I went to the US Capitol Grounds to see the concert and the fireworks, I did get a little ol' lump in my throat...

slacker-chick said...

I agree Cate - I've always shied away from the organized hyper-patriotic hoopla on the 4th - but I do love the BBQ aspect of the holiday, most def!

Princess Andy said...

i've got to go and check out this "lee greenwood" guy everyone keeps talking about.

with canada day i think of big crowds of people and long line ups...hence our attempt to view the fireworks from the roof.

i don't limit my patriotism (spell check anyone?) to only one day a year.


C. Beth said...

Great memories! And a very well-written explanation about your 4th feelings.

2cats said...

I'm a sucker for all the emotionally charged freedom stuff (AKA Lee Greenwood), it is easy to remember why when the tears threaten to flow.
I try hard not to be cynical of our countries politics, but I live with the most cynical and pessimistic man in the world.

a corgi said...

I enjoyed reading your firework stories and boys; I think it was neat your now hubby proposed during fireworks years before sans ring, but lots of love I'm sure!

I never get some of the days we celebrate as holidays here; like New Year's Day? I'm not sure why we want to welcome in the new year which usually turns out like the old year within days and besides, it comes in the middle of winter. Makes no sense......


tabithablogs said...

My fiance's aunt's birthday is the 4th, too, and this year she turned 60. My favorite part of the day was when her husband said something about how she's always believed that the fireworks and parties were for her, and she said, "Of course they are! I'll never think any different."

(Oh, come to think of it, my MORE favorite part of the day was when she opened a gift of a 10 lb. block of baking chocolate and her jaw dropped to the floor.)