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Jin Shei Cover from sgreer

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July 4th, 2006

Jin Shei Cover from sgreer

Happy birthday, America

I'm thinking back with an unabashed grin to my first American Fourth of July. It was back in 2000, in FLorida, just over a week before I would be married to rdeck, and we went down the waterfront with what seemed to be four thousand other people to wait for the fireworks. I had a wickedly melting ice-cream cone in my hand, and I wore denim shorts and a skimpy red T-shirt, and my hair in pigtails*. We went out onto the pier, me prancing around all the way like a kid, with a Sousa band somewhere off to our left belting out the old favourites in full-blown brass. The fireworks barge was moored out on the water, not far from the white columns of the ROosevelt Bridge, and long before the real thing began there were sporadic outbreaks of what looked like smaller home-grown blasts of light and colour across on the far shore. We stood on the pier, leaning on the railing, watching kids wading in the water close to shore somewhere below us, watching the sky dim from summer blue to amethyst and then to midnight sapphire, and then the barge belched flame and people squealed or sighed or laughed or applauded.

It was over too soon.

When we left it was a gridlock of cars in a hot and sultry FLorida downtown, and it was close to midnight, and nearly my birthday; my hands were still sticky with chocolate icecream, despite my best efforts of cleaning myself off; the sky still trembled with the memory of light and splendor; I was sitting in the car while my soon-to-be husband maneuvered us out of the maze of cordoned off downtown streets and pointed us towards home, and I was at once full of a wide-awake exhilaration and pleasurably tired and sleepy like a child after an outing which was ordinarily on too late after its usual bedtime but for which it had been allowed to stay up for by special dispensation. I had a sense that life could be good. And I was right.

I will leave it at that. But for another aspect of what today means, or should mean,I'd urge you to visit rdeck's own blog and read today's entry.

In any event... happy birthday, America.



*I wrote about this on the newsgroup that was (then) home to both of us - in first person - but the problem was that I had no account of my own so I posted the write-up through rdeck's account -which prompted a deluge of responses blaming me for ruined keyboards and monitors and begging me to refrain from posting things that invoked a mental image of rdeck prancing around on the pier wearing denim shorts and pigtails...