Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Fourth of July

This evening a traditional New England Fourth of July supper: cheeseburgers (for our son who doesn't like salmon), salmon with dill sauce (thanks, Henry!), peas and new potatoes (just dug at our Mennonite friends Anna and Melvin's farm). We kept it simple this year and more health-conscious but we are already planning a blow-out barbecue (including my special ribs, potato salad and brownies, among many other tasty things) on our knob for 2010 (bring your own lawn chair).

Henry's Dill Sauce

• A few dollops mayo
(of course we use Hellmann's)
• Fresh or dried dill to taste (lots of green bits)

Stir and refrigerate. Glob onto salmon, served warm or cold.

We just returned from fireworks on our knob, our first Fourth of July in Kentucky, a combined effort with our neighbors with local purchases and "bootleg" ammo from over the border in Tennessee. I was impressed, to be honest, with what was shot off as well as other fireworks we could see on adjacent hills on the ridge. Our neighbor's son set up a firing table and their gathering below was able to look up to the knob and watch the goings-on. We were right in the midst of it. The images taken here, apart from the horizon displays, were taken literally over my head on top of the knob.

The night sky was illuminated all around us by distant fireworks displays.

We had our show between rain storms. The best part, however, was watching the countless fireworks displays all around us (and we can see 365 degrees on the top of the knob). In the distance along the horizon, we lost track of counting the displays over Lake Cumberland to the south, towards Berea and London to the east, many to the north and to the west. I couldn't possibly count them all. Their distant rumbling sounded like cannon blasts and I said to my husband, "I feel like I'm hearing and seeing distant battles." I thought of the townspeople hearing the Battle of Bunker Hill being fought seventy miles away in Boston as they raised the first timbers for the frame of the Jaffrey Meetinghouse in June of 1775, just two years after forming a town in the New England wilderness that would become the state of New Hampshire thirteen years later. I thought of the embittered Civil War fought in the North and the South, some battles not far from us in Kentucky. I thought of what it might have felt like for the soldiers in World War I and II to be huddled in the trenches or invading foreign beaches. I thought of the conflicts overseas right now and wonder if they will ever end.

I have traveled near and far and am forever grateful to live in this glorious country: to have the hard-earned freedoms that we have and the rights and privileges to go along with them. I am grateful for those who defend our freedoms but also saddened by those who feel we must always be vigilant warriors, sometimes in places where we are not wanted and can not possibly be of service. I am glad to now be in a country that will hopefully better lead by example instead of imposing its might and will on others. And I am glad I can write this without fear of death.

And then, amidst the pageantry of light, sound and raindrops, I thought of one of my favorite bands, Talking Heads (how could I help myself?), and some of the lyrics from "Life During Wartime" (still great to dance to thirty! years later and even more liberating to celebrate the lyrics now that the past eight years are through, as many were hauntingly prophetic):

Life During Wartime

Heard of a van that is loaded with weapons
packed up and ready to go
Heard of some grave sites, out by the highway
a place where nobody knows
The sound of gunfire, off in the distance
I'm getting used to it now
Lived in a brownstone, I lived in the ghetto
I've lived all over this town

This ain't no party, this ain't no disco
this ain't no fooling around
No time for dancing, or lovey dovey
I ain't got time for that now

Transmit the message, to the receiver
hope for an answer some day
I got three passports, couple of visas
don't even know my real name
High on a hillside, trucks are loading
everything's ready to roll
I sleep in the daytime, I work in the night time
I might not ever get home

This ain't no party, this ain't no disco
this ain't no fooling around
This ain't no Mudd Club, or C. B. G. B.
I ain't got time for that now

Heard about Houston? Heard about Detroit?
Heard about Pittsburgh, PA?
You oughta know not to stand by the window
somebody see you up there
I got some groceries, some peanut butter
to last a couple of days
But I ain't got no speakers
ain't got no headphones
ain't got no records to play

Why stay in college? Why go to night school?
Gonna be different this time
Can't write a letter, I can't send a postcard
I can't write nothing at all
This ain't no party, this ain't no disco
this ain't no fooling around
I'd love you hold you, I'd like to kiss you
but I ain't got no time for that now
Trouble in transit, got through the roadblock
we blended in with the crowd
We got computers, we're tapping phone lines
I know that ain't allowed
We dress like students, we dress like housewives
or in a suit and a tie
I changed my hairstyle so many times now
don't know what I look like!
You make me shiver, I feel so tender
we make a pretty good team
Don't get exhausted, I'll do some driving
you ought to get you some sleep
Burned all my notebooks, what good are notebooks?
They won't help me survive

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

One of my favorite Talking Heads songs, at their best.