Sunday, July 04, 2021

Star Spangled Woman

Kicked off a sunny 4th with material from Colliers Harvest of Holidays. The long piece is from the Laura Ingalls Wilder novel Little Town On the Prairie. Pa takes Laura and Mary into the newly-built village for their 4th of July celebration. The girls enjoy fresh lemonade from a barrel, get fireworks from an enterprising local politician, and watch an exciting horse race their friend Alonzo takes part in. Other material includes several patriotic poems or poetry about fireworks and The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere. Threw in the final chapter from my book Summer In America about 4th of July celebrations across the US and how they inaugurate "America's childhood." 

Barely had time for two quick cartoon shorts while I ate breakfast. "Patriotic Popeye" tries to keep his nephews from setting off fireworks, but they keep finding ways around his rules. They finally get the hint when a huge rocket carries them off and they have to rescue him. Donald Duck wants to impress Daisy with his big night-time picnic to watch the fireworks in "Donald's Failed Fourth," but first the chairs, then the blanket won't cooperate.

Rushed straight off to work after Donald ended. It wasn't busy when I arrived, but the crowds picked up around noon as the parades ended and the picnics began. Other than a few customers who misinterpreted the big 12-pack soda sale this week, there were no real problems. Thankfully, it finally slowed down just in time for me to close down and leave without a relief. 

Dark clouds gathered, even as I raced them home. By the time I got to the pool in my bathing suit, it began to shower heavily. No matter. If I was going to be wet, I'd go all the way. It was just water, no thunder or lightning. Finley, Chloe, Riley, and I happily swam and splashed in a downpour while their parents huddled under a meager tent and tried to stay dry. 

The rain just slowed as Craig came out and announced the barbecue was ready. Jodie, Craig, and Rose prepared a pretty darn decent feast. I had a burger, Caesar salad, potato salad, fruit salad, a mini-cupcake, and spinach dip with pita chips one of the neighbors brought. There was also spicy sausage, hot dogs, and baked beans. (I never was a fan of baked beans, and sausages give me heartburn.)

After the girls and I ate, we played with Chloe's collection of those new "pop-em" things the kids love. They're basically thicker versions of the plastic wrap that people love to twist and make noise with, often made in goofy shapes and bright colors. The girls love them, and I can understand their enthusiasm. They are kind of fun, and almost therapeutic to mess around with.

When the girls got bored with those, I offered to show them around my apartment. The older girls really loved my American Girl dolls. They seemed to be especially fond of Molly, admiring her camp uniform and playing with her glasses and shoulder bag.

We eventually decided to jump back in the pool...literally, given the kids and I all showed off our goofy dives! Khai dragged himself away from his smartphone games long enough to join us. I swam with Finley from one end of the pool to the other, then floated in the inner tube while the kids played games and chased each other. 

The party broke up around 6:30 so the families could get ready for the fireworks. I went back in my place, changed into dry clothes, and worked on writing. Greg (Morris) the Diamond Card has initiated a "Mission: Impossible" to paint the Queen's white roses red, before they get into more trouble. Brett's not sure helping is a good idea, but the boys figure it couldn't hurt...

Broke at 8 to head out for the fireworks. The weather had turned absolutely gorgeous for a walk. The sun emerged, the sky was blue, and it was pleasantly cool and breezy, especially for July. Stopped at Dollar General first. I wanted Dew S.A again, but they were out. Went with a Baja Blast instead. There was only one other guy in line, and I got in and out as fast as I could.

Crossed the street when I could get between cars and strolled down to CVS. They're directly across from Newton Lake Park...and have perfect sightlines for the fireworks. A lot of folks from Oaklyn, Camden, and the near-by towns watch them there. It was a real carnival atmosphere in their small parking lot, with kids turning cartwheels and taking selfies and parents chatting on lawn chairs or the backs of trucks. 

Hung out briefly by the concrete bridge over the river to admire the pink and lavender sunset before returning to the parking lot. Joined Riley and her parents on the curb in front of the CVS building. Chloe and her parents and Jodie came around later, shortly before the fireworks began. (Rose and her family opted to watch the show from their house.) 

The fireworks are always gorgeous in Collingswood. They get real professionals to do them, and they're twice as long and elaborate as any of the other local towns besides the big Philly show. I loved the purple one with the gold ring that resembled Saturn, the pretty red hearts, and the big gold sparkly ones that faded in all kinds of crazy lines.

Jodie insisted on everyone staying together on the walk home to avoid the crowds and traffic. I tried twice to tell her I've walked home alone on the 4th with no trouble besides dodging traffic every year and I'm an adult and don't need hand-holding, but she was just too worried about the cars all over the place. Once we got away from the crowds and closer to Hillcrest, I walked faster, going past Jodie and the kids and their moms. 

Enjoyed the peace and quiet as I headed down the street. Walking back from the fireworks is almost my favorite part of the Fourth. Most people are on their way back from the show or out of town. It was so cool, most houses didn't even have the tell-tale hum of air conditioners vibrating from their windows. 

After I joined the live chat at the Match Game '91 premiere, I stayed on YouTube to finish the night with vintage parades. Having enjoyed the 1988 Walt Disney World 4th of July Spectacular last year, I did the next two years tonight. The 1989 version was hosted by Willard Scott and that year's Miss America. The actual parade only filled the first hour. The second half showcased musical numbers by the Temptations and that year's newest boy band sensation, New Kids on the Block, along with the Main Street Electrical Parade. Carol Channing and Minnie Mouse came together rather bizarrely for the big patriotic dance routine at Cinderella's Castle in the finale. The Mouseketeers reprised their Typhoon Lagoon number from the Easter parade.

The 1990 show ditched the parade and hosts all together to focus on the musical numbers. Downtown Julie Brown from MTV introduced New Kids on the Block again, this time joined at Pleasure Island by Jermaine Jackson. Gladys Knight and the Pips performed a medley of their greatest hits at the then-newest Disney hotel, the elegant Dolphin Inn. The Mouseketeers brought back a wave of memories with their music video for "Every Little Step," which I fondly remember seeing frequently both on The Disney Channel and The Mickey Mouse Club

Regis Philbin and Kathy Lee Gifford joined Minnie and the Disney gang for the Castle number this time, with Minnie leading sailors in "Bloody Mary" from South Pacific and "Anchors Aweigh," Kathy going country with the Country Bears, and the Disney gang reciting the first lines of The Declaration of Independence. 

And here's hoping you had an equally fun 4th of July, whether you spent it at home or out and about with your own friends and family!

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