Fireworks pop in the distance, people trying out one of everything they bought. A single long-stemmed rose, yellow and pink, has opened up outside my window. The fridge can't hold one more thing. I have vinegar stomach from tasting the salads. It's warm and sticky in here. Everything's about ready. Just have to stay up til 1 a.m. to put the kielbasa in the slow cooker. There's a Twilight Zone marathon on. Ah, July Fourth.
This is the first party here. I wonder how it will go, what will happen... but I don't get the night before party nerves like I used to. Once all the food's accounted for and things are set up, there's that time to relax, which is now. The morning will have a few chores but the stove does most of the work. I think I'll wear my khaki dress. I'm not the red-white-and-blue type. The only flags I own are the one from my Dad's funeral and a silk one from the 40s, and I haven't unpacked them; though there's one hanging off the back handrail that the last tenants left there. It'll do. It's not about symbols to me anyway. It's about my friends and all they do.
In the crowd will be the guy who founded the Heat Fund (and hopefully his daughter who just got back from Africa), who's been a State Rep and a Selectboard guy. Then there are the inventers of iBrattleboro, who just hit the 10 year mark of living here; the local heart of the Vermont Worker's Center, who's a teacher, too. And my close pals who've been long-time DJs at our community radio station. The editor who'll be helping me with my book, and her brother, my old co-worker who campaigned with me to unionize the co-op. Friends who helped me move here, some who barely knew me. There are a few who'll be missed, who are working or away or whose car is laid up. They're all good people and I'm very grateful they're in my life. They're also what this country was built on- hardworking regular folks, which to me are much more important than a symbol.
At some point while everyone's yakking and yukking it up I'll sit back & look around at all these peep who do so much and mean the world to me, and get that smile like when the Grinch's heart grew three sizes. That's what a holiday is all about. Happy Independence Day.
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