July 05, 2010

Shifting expectations and a big bang.

Holiday's bring great expectations. Take for example, oh, Christmas. No, don't, you'll work too hard recalling all the expectations of the holiday, start thinking of under-delivery on your part or someone else's and feel stress. Don't. Really.
Try Valentine's Day or Labor Day.
Any of them.
For me the holiday with the second biggest list of expectations is The 4th of July.
We're supposed to gather, picnic, barbecue, fly the flag, wear red, white & blue, listen to patriotic music, see fireworks, and in the end, say, "Ouuuu," and "Ahhhhh!" collectively.

My favorite 4ths were as a kid, when a little box of fireworks was completely magical, and all the families in the neighborhood gathered to watch the dads dazzle us with their pyrotechnic talents.

I also loved the years we found our way to that slice of the 1950s Americana, the Pacific Palisades 4th of July Parade. Hometown at it's best. The mayor in a convertible, little floats, horse teams, and Chevy Chase waving to the crowd. This year they even had, Kate Linder, a 27-year member of 'The Young and the Restless cast. Oh, and pinwheels, streamers, ice cream and horns.

In recent years we've bought tickets to the big stadium fireworks show. It's spectacular, but it comes with a lot of parking and sitting and waiting and filler and then, after the fireworks, the line to get out of the stadium and back into the parking lot to, wait. One year, we walked blocks and blocks to get to the beach show and then found the view, well, blocks and blocks away. The adventure was there, but not the full reward.

Last night, our many gathering opportunities vanished and we found ourselves just the little family for the holiday. After a backyard barbecue of burgers and bbq's chicken legs, my Dear suggested we all get in the car and took us to the best celebration place of all. The place where real American families gather -- the streets outside the fireworks stadium. Miles of service roads in our town are lined with people on blankets, in lawn chairs, or milling to get the best view of the show. Whole families, big families are out there. Kinda like a parade route. And when the fireworks start, so do the "Ouuus & Aaaahs."

The teenager sat on the top of my SUV, Grandma and Dad stood nearby and my girlie and I layed  on a blanket, avoiding trees in our view path and marveled at the colors and shapes and sounds. When it was over, we hopped in the car and came home to steal into the backyard for sparklers and a raspberry tart.

It was the 4th of July at its best. Easy and fun. A time with family to celebrate our county's hard won freedom. And the freedom to celebrate well with, perhaps, some simpler expectations.

Photo courtesy The Sun Sentinel.com, hurricane central.
Program graphic courtesy of the Pacific Palisades Post.

1 comment:

suzi said...

I LOVE THIS ABOUT AS MUCH AS I LOVE INDEPENDENCE DAY! GOD BLESS AMERICA, Indeed!

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