As Fourth of July Weekends went this one had an unusual dynamic to it.
Incurable romantics, we couldn’t help but hold the New Fourth up against Fourths long past, where dads and uncles in t-shirts lit peep-squeak pyrotechnics with their cigars in the street outside newly acquired homes while moms in pedal pushers or summer dresses cautioned us kids and shook their heads in disbelief at their husbands’ beery antics.
It’s not wise to hold onto those old memories for other than the brief warmth they provide, and being realists as well as romantics we know those times are gone and America has changed forever. The bedrock belief in the country and its government, forged from the rubble of World War II, has been shaken by interim conflicts and some questionable government actions. We cannot help but think how our WWII-hardened fathers and uncles would react at the sight of Americans – for whatever reason – donning Better Red Than Democrat t-shirts or espousing the skill set of Russians who still count a massive artillery bombardment as a prelude to diplomatic relations. Knowing them as we do, we can almost see their cigar ash sparking in the street as they discarded the stogies and advanced on an offending countryman like they did on Berlin “to have a talk.”
Our values and beliefs intact, we’re staggered to find our countrymen and women not so sure – about their leaders, about who to trust to tell them the truth, about what truth is in the 21st Century, about how to move forward as a nation and who among us should lead us there. We’re also staggered to see that some Americans are apparently serious when they talk about waging a full-blown Civil War in this country – even if they can’t adequately describe who fought in the last one or explain why we geared up and went after one another tooth and nail back in 1861.
In recent years, some of those who have lost faith in California have waged a game of “I’m leaving this state for X because…” – X is more business friendly, taxes are lower, Gavin Newsom uses too much hair gel, or you can shoot who you want when you want.” We think you know which states are seen more favorably than ours and we wish anyone wanting to move there the very best – truly – but if you happen to be leaving a 10-acre parcel of prime California real estate please contact us at 925 NOT GOIN. Interestingly, folks who have moved have written complaining that taxes, heat, traffic, and locals better armed than they have taken the luster out of their chosen go-to state. Sorry about that.
Feet firmly planted here, we watched over the weekend as our governor fired an opening salvo of his own in the direction of Florida, taking its governor to task for his conservative leanings and inviting Democratic-minded Floridians to migrate from the Sunshine State back to the Golden State – which was nice and a savvy political move but which left us biting our lip a little. We mean, traffic does seem to have eased a bit after the exodus.
Florida, for its part, responded rather nastily, riposting by referring to Newsom as the “#1 U-Haul Salesman of 2021” and saying: “Sorry, you aren’t getting those U-Hauls back.” That’s okay, we understand Patriot Front has those trailers leased through the year.
The whole weekend had a slightly unsettled feel to it and, of course, it pulsated with the shooting in Highland Park, Illinois – our brains attempting to process things as marching bands broke into a trot and then a run as a clownish kid in woman’s clothing opened up with a weapon vets we know swear was an AK-47. Don’t know, but it did what it was designed to do and people started falling. We’re not into breast-beating and we hate sounding like a broken record but this type of murderous cataclysm appears to have become the accepted norm. That does not leave us feeling especially proud of our country, which also appears to have embraced leaders of dubious character with little sign of reconsideration.
We’re told that some indicator needles are foreshadowing a change on the horizon and we shall see, having been disappointed before and preferring to accept things when the ink is dry.
Boom Night arrived and we were swept up in the throngs maneuvering for prime viewing of the evening’s Sky Flowers, sanctioned displays competing against private shows arranged by neighbors with $100 to spend on a star shell, complaints about gas prices forgotten as hundreds – if not thousands – of dollars worth of pyrotechnics lit up neighborhoods and the skies like Friday night in Kyiv. When the thunderous detonations stopped we looked to the west where folks in Oakland and Berkeley and Richmond continued to party, the echoes of their bombs bursting in air riding gently on the easterly wind.
We took our time making our way back to the News Bunker, breathing in the night air and lingering smell of black powder, aware of something big and skulky in the brush along our creek and hoping it wasn’t too hungry. Our first impression was “deer” until it moved and we upgraded to “bobcat” – maybe something bigger, aware that a pretty kitty with teeth uses the area to traverse between wild lands.
With only a pocket flash for defense we quickened our pace, not in the mood to get gnawed on, scanning the brush for sign of reflective, catlike eyes. The clock ticked over to midnight as we made it safely to home base, the weekend officially over and America left to deal with its problems and what few successes we can claim.
Another week. Another birthday. We’ll see what the next one has in store.