Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Independence Day

Our Independence Day Celebrations were safe and happy. Those are the two things I wish most for each and every day. We had our three sons over for a cookout on Saturday the 1st. We had beef and chicken kabobs, mounds of them, and I thought I'd made too many, but at the end of the night, nothing was left. For the middle son I always make mashed potatoes--this time I used half and half, garlic, and lots of butter. We took our big stereo out onto the patio. This stereo has such grand speakers that if you crank them halfway you can hear the music anywhere on our property, and we live on 12 acres. I bought this system fifteen years ago with extra money I'd earned from supplemental teaching jobs. It cost a lot of money, but I've never regretted buying it because the family enjoys it so much. I burned five "party" CDs with favorite songs. For Allen, Stevie Ray Vaughan's "Pride and Joy." For the boys, many of their favorites, like "American Pie" and Creedence Clearwater Revival.

Then on the 4th, Allen and I set out for the river to watch the Toledo fireworks. It's one of the events Toledo puts on that always brings out lots of people. Generally I don't care for big celebrations or crowds, but this would be one exception. If you're going to watch fireworks, the only way to do it is on the river in a boat, I think. Hundreds of boats come out for the event, gather at the observation points just before dusk, and wait patiently for the show. This year, there was a boatload of young men just behind us. As the fireworks burst in the sky, they were screaming, "Woohoo!" and "Yeah!" and "Happy Birthday, America!" They were so authentic in their enthusiasm that it made me feel happy.

"The Star Spangled Banner" echoed across the water in a most ghostly fashion. The sound was hollow and other-worldly, or like a dream.

I'm always turned off by hyper-patriotism, but I didn't see any of that. Just a lot of good people out to enjoy the evening and participate in something good. The photos show the water just at dusk and then as dark fell and the boaters turned on their lights. Be sure to click on the photos for a larger view.

After the fireworks, people cranked their motors and moved in an orderly fashion to the boat ramps. Their white departing lights reminded me of those paper lanterns that are sometimes sent out on the waters during ceremonies. And it was a surprisingly quiet moment.

Allen and I stayed in the boat overnight, so we had plenty of time to cruise up and down the river after everyone had gone home. At times, it was like the river belonged to us because it was only us riding on the choppy waves.

It was very chilly, even with our jackets, and once we passed someone on shore who was sitting next to a fire. The fire smelled sweet and made me long for its warmth. This morning when we putted past the area where the fire had been, it looked desolate and worn. Some railway cars were just a little way from where the man had sat, warming next to his fire, and it made me wonder who the man was and why he was on the banks of the Maumee River alone in the wee hours of the morning. Fires are prohibited there.

So are fireworks, but after the show, people continued to set off fireworks for much of the night. The booms ricocheted off the buildings and with most of the people gone the river seemed vast. These after-fireworks shows had an eerie quality not unlike one of those weird scenes in Apocalypse Now

We got up early this morning and walked to Big Boy's for breakfast. It was a good time.

I've been doing a lot of reading about Theodore Roethke the last few days. And today I'm reading Truman Capote again. I want to write about these things in an entry soon.


Tom said...

Its great to hear that your Indepedence Day celebrations were filled with family, music, and fun. I look forward to your entry about the books you have been reading, especially your impressions on Truman Capote. Have a great week.

ggw07 said...

Thanks for sharing your 4th- Sounds like you're doing great memory building for your family. Can't wait for post on Roethke and Capote!

beths front porch said...

I had a mini-vacation just reading your entry. I cruised down the river with you, had breakfast at BB's, and wondered about the man at the fire...sigh*** Just the break I needed. Thank you!

V said...

Sounds like a wonderful time!

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Northwest Ohio, United States
"I was no better than dust, yet you cannot replace me. . . Take the soft dust in your hand--does it stir: does it sing? Has it lips and a heart? Does it open its eyes to the sun? Does it run, does it dream, does it burn with a secret, or tremble In terror of death? Or ache with tremendous decisions?. . ." --Conrad Aiken


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Fave Painting: Eden

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The Secret of Hurricanes : That article in the Waterville Scout said it was Shake- spearean, all that fatalism that guides the Kennedys' lives. The likelihood of untimely death. Recently, another one died in his prime, John-John in an airplane. Not long before that, Bobby's boy. While playing football at high speeds on snow skis. Those Kennedys take some crazy chances. I prefer my own easy ways. Which isn't to say my life hasn't been Shake-spearean. By the time I was sixteen, my life was like the darkened stage at the end of Hamlet or Macbeth. All littered with corpses and treachery.

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