Getting used to the public holidays in a new country is a tricky thing. Each one has its own atmosphere and traditions, and in America they seem to be more distinct than they were in England.
You might imagine that Independence Day would be a tricky one — with so many people fixing Chinese-made plastic Stars and Stripes to the windows of their Toyota SUV’s, the nation is awash in patriotic symbols as a reminder of the military incompetence of perfidious Albion. I like to take the opportunity to tell my frends that this is the time when Americans everywhere give thanks to their buddies the French for their help in securing their independence, then drop in a mention of the Battle of Trafalgar as being a rather more important event around that time. By the way, that’s also handy when someone says, “We’re the reason you guys don’t speak German now!” — the Battle of Trafalgar explains why “We (the English) are the reason why you fellows don’t speak French now!”
So that leads to lively debate over a few beers.
But anyway, I like the 4th of July. It’s more relaxed than Christmas and Thanksgiving, not having so many family obligations and all. In fact once the preparation for the food was mostly out of the way I went over to help a friend build a fence and gate, and drink beer. That went on longer than expected and we ended up eating late and putting the littl’uns to bed at around 10:30pm.
And the other reason why I like this holiday is for the fireworks. The tent that I bought mine from had prominent notices stating that “the possession or use of fireworks is illegal in the City of Colorado Springs”, which presumably means that the cops could slap a ticket on everyone driving out of the parking lot. Nevertheless the streets reverberated to the sound of explosions for a long time last night. I wonder where my neighbours got their rockets? They’re supposed to be illegal in the whole state of Colorado — so much for “Land of the Free”!
Oh well, Thanksgiving next. Last year we deep-fried a turkey, which can also lead to fireworks. My arteries are just regaining their flexibility from that, so in another few months I should be good to go for another one.
Happy holidays, everyone.