July 4th is coming - Independence Day.
Most people, I think, have a particular image that this date brings up... what's yours?
Is it the flag, the red white and blue? Patriotism and historical symbolism of freedom? Probably fitting for this time in American history, what with our liberation (or has it been classified as an occupation yet?) of Iraq and all. Or maybe it's fireworks in the night sky - all the explosions of color that make the crowd go ooh and ahhh en mass. maybe it's something more homey and intimate, maybe sparklers and fireflies, little dirty feet and roasted marshmallows.
The fourth of July has whole different connotations for me, though it relates to those other things as well. As a child there were always crowds at the house, sweltering in summer heat, while my mother kept busy in the kitchen. The meal always differed, hot dogs, hamburgers, sometimes barbecued chicken - and on rare occasion, steaks. There was always, without fail, Cole slaw, potato salad, baked beans and macaroni salad. But for me, it is a day of
the smell of sulfur,
You see, on the July fourth I'll be 33, and there will be flags and freedom, light shows, large and small - fireflies will flit and sparklers will earn their name. Marshmallows will brown, melt, and flame, and my house will be filled with 5 filthy pairs of little over-tired feet.
But for me it is the day to wake up a year older, one day wiser. There will be hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill, ketchup spilled on the porch, smiling faces, residual sparkler drawings at the hand of child artists,
and too much cake.