Here’s the perfect vocabulary word, albeit a little archaic, to describe a daily walk and it certainly is befitting for Independence Day. Today’s constitutional was a measly two miles. Big booming fireworks in the neighborhood started going off at 1:30 a.m. and beyond and kept me awake. When the alarm went off at 5:00 a.m., I rolled over. Oops! I only like to walk when it is coolish and by the time I got going, it was just too warm to try to get alot of miles in. It was quiet this morning with just a hint of a breeze. Thus, Old Glory was not flapping in the wind, but was hanging rather limply in the still, humid air. You could not go down a street without seeing the Stars and Stripes proudly displayed somewhere and an abundance of bunting was draped and festooned on fences, gates, garages and even hung from window boxes on two-story homes. Americans all seem to rise to the occasion on patriotic holidays like Memorial Day and the 4th of July and indeed did Old Glory proud today.
There were not many people outside this morning; they were probably part of the Up North caravan that left Wednesday evening or maybe they stayed home and slept in. One house, however, bustled with activity. Dad was loading an SUV, which was already groaning with camping equipment stowed in the back and sticking through the windows. Mom was carrying out a Styrofoam cooler and a black lab was running in circles and barking noisily. Just as I neared the commotion, a young boy came flying out of the house, slamming the door behind him with his great gusto with a sneakered foot. He carried a large Meijer brown paper bag in front of him, nearly blocking his view. The boy came bounding over to see me, all aflutter and flashed me a grin (absent all four front teeth) then told me the family was going camping and he could “hardly wait” and they were about ready to go. “Wanna see my sleeping bag?” he asked.
I told him it was best to not pull his sleeping bag out of middle of the pile of supplies, lest his Dad be mad at him. He said “yeah, I guess so” and then he switched subjects and told me about making S’mores tonight. He set his paper bag on the ground and began rifling through it and pulled out a couple of six-packs of Hershey bars, three bags of puffy marshmallows and several boxes of Honey Graham crackers and said “we’re makin’ a fire and gonna have S’mores tonight and I am soooooooooo excited!” I laughed and told him they sounded yummy and he’d better make sure to get those S’mores softened up and smooshed down before he bit into them as they’d be darn hard to eat with no front teeth. He just grinned all the more at that comment as did his mom who was within earshot.
Well, we all have our favorite holiday treats. Today, most folks indulge in something tasty on the grill. Though I don’t eat them now, my 4th of July treat was always mouth-watering Southern biscuits and sausage gravy, guaranteed to clog your arteries, but boy were they tasty. This was my annual decadent treat my mom mad as a reward for washing the house down and cleaning the windows, the latter being one of my least-favorite chores. I’ve always hate to climb ladders; I’d climb to the second step, and the third step only if it was absolutely necessary and I was nervous the entire time that I’d fall off and break something. Thankfully it is a one-story house. So, imagine my delight when Windex came out with a house/trim and window cleaner that you used from your hose – aim, hit the toggle button for soap, then switch back to rinse. I loved this product as it didn’t even necessitate using a squeegee. Once and done and everything sparkled. I was happy. Mom was happy. Her one bugaboo was dirty windows which she hated and she was critical of any smear or streak, notably glaring when the sun came out and especially on the kitchen windows. Thus, the only good thing to come out of getting up at the crack of dawn on a holiday to wash down the house and windows before the sun came out and made a reflection on the glass was that my mom used to make me biscuits and gravy for my efforts. We adhered to a fairly healthy diet, and biscuits and gravy were a downfall, for me, anyway. I’d be salivating the entire time I was outside and then I’d rap on the window about a half-hour before the job was done and my mom would then whip up a batch of homemade biscuits and start the Southern-style gravy on the stove. The smell of hot biscuits was exhilarating. This year I am exempting myself from these chores; all these torrential rains lately let Mother Nature take care of this task for me. So, I don’t deserve this tasty treat which I’ve not had since the last time my mom made it for me. My dish du jour will be an All-American classic: hotdogs, beans and coleslaw … and yup, I’ll pass on the S’mores and have fruit instead.
“ Freedom is the last, best hope of earth. ” — Abraham Lincoln