Tuesday, July 04, 2006


I love Independence Day. It's Mom's favorite holiday. On most humid summer days, if you ask what either of us would like to do, we'd both inevitably choose something air conditioned, probably a museum or something. Chamber music, anyone?

July 4th is different. My mother and I have our own tradition...we find the most minor league baseball team possible (Hello, Kannapolis Intimidators!) and take ourselves to the ball game. It's usually something like "Bring a Can of Food for the Hungry and Get a Dollar Off Night". We bring cans of corn and greens and Dinty Moore beef stew. We eat horrible food we'd never want on any other day--hot dogs or pretzels or nachos--and drink a plastic cup of beer or two. We sweat and smile, and watch the little old people and the wild children and the baby-faced ball players (when the hell did they get so young?) and revel in America. The "Wheel o' Fortune" game is made of plywood and dowel rods and the cut-off head of a flyswatter. This is farm team baseball.

After the game, there are always fireworks on July 4th. Both teams come back out and sit together on the darkened diamond. The fans all stay in the stands. We sing along with crackly recordings of "My Country 'Tis of Thee" and "God Bless America". They play bad medleys of patriotic country and rock songs when the fireworks start, and we all ooooh and aaaaah. There's something about all those faces--every color, every age, every background--turned to the sky, reflecting reds and blues and greens, reflecting wonder and joy. That's Independence Day for me.

So, I was a little worried...I knew there would be no ball game, and no fireworks. Would it be a bust of a holiday?

FH and I ended up celebrating Independence Day in what I think was quite an appropriate manner. He didn't have to go to the ship (woo hoo!), so we stayed home all day. He played his video games and I worked on freelance stuff. I know, that sounds boring, but I love my work, and it felt so good to get a bunch of it done! And after spending so many days aboard that ship, he deserved a day to purely do nothing.

We worked independently of each other, each in our own world--but it was right somehow...comfortable...knowing the other was so close, occasionally looking up to find him looking at me with love or vice versa. I made three meals (pretty good ones, actually--scrambled egg whites with roasted red pepper, onion and swiss served with a little bowl of fresh cantaloupe/banana/strawberries/cherries for breakfast; homemade-from-scratch clam chowder with the cutest little fresh Japanese clams served with celery and radishes and a surprisingly delicious tahini/tofu "faux cheese" spread; pork tenderloin cooked with apples and a little white wine served with fresh garlic-almond green beans and barely steamed corn on the cob; and the big splurge, homemade butter pecan ice cream for dessert. Don't you wish you'd been here?) but otherwise spent about 12 hours at the computer.

Sounds like a boring July 4th to most folks, I bet. But to me, we embraced independence as we each did our own thing. We embraced unity as we worked smoothly around one another, each doing little things for the other to silently say "I'm thinking about you. I care about you. I love you." Independent and united. Pretty appropriate, don't you think?

To finish the day on a perfect note, FH found an amazing little program that shows astonishingly realistic fireworks on the computer screen. How thoughtful is that?

Happy Independence Day!