July 04, 2005

Independence Day

Happy 4th of July everyone! Hope your holiday weekend is full of fun. Ours has been so far--Saturday we went to a wine tasting, Sunday I had lunch with a friend and then Sunday night we went to the Mark Taper Forum to see the play Stuff Happens.

Today we headed to my cousins Tracy and Geoff's house for a BBQ. It was really fun. Kevin learned how to play backgammon (as I sat on the sidelines attempting to remember what my dad taught me about the game 20 years ago), and we stuffed ourselves on some serious good eatin'. My favorite was the sun-dried tomato chicken sausages--mmmmm.

Tonight, however, our house is going to catch on fire and burn to the ground. Fireworks were made illegal in my hometown, Torrance, over 20 years ago. Many California cities (most, I think) have adopted this, but three cities, Garden Grove, Santa Ana, and Costa Mesa still have legal fireworks. Let's all say it together: BOOOOOOOO Garden Grove, Santa Ana, and Costa Mesa! So of course it's illegal here in Anaheim but when you can drive less than a few miles to one of our insane neighboring cities it's pretty hard to control.

So the result is that many of our neighbors are ringing in the New Year celebrating our country's independence by attempting to blow up the neighborhood.


Personally, at-home fireworks scare the crap out of me. Even when fireworks were legal, we were always taught that they were Dangerous with a capital D. We children were not, under any circumstances, allowed to light one (only an adult with a lighter and a death wish had that privilege). The rockets that did nothing but make a high-pitched noise made me clamp my hands over my ears and the ones that spin around on the ground shooting sparks while it goes in circles (or is supposed to go in circles) made me want to run far, far away. The only ones I liked were those pinwheels that you attached to a tree and lit and watched them spin around. But come on--it's California, which has a desert climate, and is putting open flames on wood really such a good idea? I don't think so.

Disneyland (which we can see from our kitchen) has a special finale to their normal fireworks show, but the problem is that a lot of D-land's new fireworks are quite close to the ground, so we can't see them all that well. Angel Stadium is supposed to be having fireworks tonight but I haven't seen them.

Anyway, one thing I found particularly significant about this 4th of July was our American flag. Not displaying the flag, but taking it down and folding it. Kevin is, of course, an Eagle Scout and I was a Girl Scout. Both organizations hold the flag in high regard and Scouts are schooled in the proper handling and respect for the flag. In case you didn't know, there's a certain way an American flag is folded. In half lengthwise, then again, then on corner is triangulated over repeatedly until the flag is folded in the shape of a triangle. The end is tucked in and the stars are showing. (ignore the sales pitch at the bottom of that webpage)

The American flag should never be flown at night unless it has a light shining on it. Since we don't have a light, we've been taking our flag down every evening. We then bring it inside and fold the flag according to custom. It went unspoken between us--of course it takes two people to fold the flag. Of course we both knew how to do it. Of course we would, in our own private way, pay tribute to our country by folding the flag properly instead of just shoving it into the drawer.

I think there is a lot wrong with this country right now. I didn't vote for and don't agree with the current administration. I think our privacy rights are seriously in danger. I disagree with this war. And I should probably stop there lest I go into a blood pressure-raising diatribe.

But despite all of that, I love this country. I love displaying our flag. I love folding it properly and respectfully. I love being an American. Happy Independence Day.

Posted by Shelby at July 4, 2005 12:44 PM