Saturday, July 04, 2009


So usually hardly anyone blogs on Saturdays, then my friend Jo hooks me with this ‘Stories in My Pocket’ Saturdays, which I really love. Then even she says she can’t manage it this week, because who’s going to blog on a Saturday that’s the Fourth of July?

An ex-pat American, that’s who. No family to visit, no fireworks, no Fourth of July celebration to go to. I made iron-on t-shirts for the kids, we had a barbecue, and I was not allowed to sing patriotic songs (my husband does not like My Country tis of Thee, seeing as the tune is his actual national anthem, and America is not the only country where ‘at least I know I’m free’).

And I did some reminiscing. Here’s my best Independence Day story:

I grew up in a small Midwestern town that every year has a parade for the Fourth of July. It’s mainly fire trucks followed by pick-up trucks with various community groups in the back – the girl scouts, the Kiwanis, city council, that sort of thing. They throw candy to the children in the crowd. Who run out into the street, fight each other for it, and knock some smaller kid to the asphalt who looks up wailing just as another fire truck comes down the road, blaring its siren as loud as possible. Fun times!

There’s also the bike parade. Local kids decorate their bikes, ride along with the parade, and get judged at the end for the most patriotic bike.

My mom wasn’t going to shell out for crepe paper and streamers and ribbons and the like, so I set about finding my own (free) way to creatively decorate my wheels. So I could WIN that $5 McDonald’s gift certificate.

We were out for ice cream at our local Baskins and Robbins and I noticed they had the empty ice cream drums, washed out and sitting by the side. I asked if I could have one. To picture it, the ice-cream drum was about the size of a wastepaper basket, with white plastic on the inside and brown paper on the outside.

I decided I could be a ‘bike-astronaut’. I painted my ice cream-drum white, added a few blobs I hoped would look like flags, donned a grey sweatsuit (on a 90 degree July day!) and headed up for the parade.

Hoping my homespun, cheap ingenuity would beat out the bikes with ruffles and bows and pom-poms and actual flags (all probably decorated by the parents) I popped on my helmet and waited for the parade.

Then I felt a hand on my shoulder. ‘I’m sorry, little girl, you can’t be in the parade like that.’
Faux-indignant, because I had a feeling this might happen, ‘Why not?’
‘You have to be able to see where you’re going.’

I hadn’t cut a hole in my astronaut helmet. I had just planned to peek out the bottom and follow the wheels of the person in front. But apparently, that was a safety hazard (unlike teaching children to run into the street to look for candy).

They let me ride in the parade anyway, with no helmet and no decoration, just a grey sweatsuit and a red face. I didn’t win.


Jo@Mylestones 1:03 PM  

I don't know how you do it, because I so rarely actually laugh out loud at blog posts, but you had me LAUGHING. OUT. LOUD. Maybe it's because I know you and your wit and I can JUST picture this!
Anyway, I did manage to finish my story and it is officially up, so link on up!
And Happy 4th my friend!! (Anytime you want to celebrate your freedom from the tyranny of Britain (though not from your British husband), I'm totally here for you!). :-)

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