So here we are.
Two summers ago, I wrote the post “christmas in july,” likening Independence Day to essentially a secular, summertime Christmas. It seemed like a decent analogy at the time. Both holidays revolve around vacations and food and department store sales.
I was dead stupid wrong. Independence Day is not secular, summertime Christmas. Christmas is global and ancient. Christmas is presents and peppermint. Christmas is silent and holy. The Fourth of July is none of these things. The Fourth of July is American and gluttonous and filled with illegal fireworks.
No, Independence Day is casual, summertime Thanksgiving. Our big celebration in the seventh month of the year is exactly like our big celebration in the eleventh month of the year, only hotter and al fresco.
Instead of Dad holding court with a carving knife in his hand in front of the turkey, he holds court with a barbecue fork and tongs in front of the grill.
Instead of relatives gathering around the dinner table, they gather around the picnic table. Plates are still piled high, but the plates are disposable. Instead of gravy dripping everywhere, it’s barbecue sauce and ketchup and mustard that stains your shirt.
There is much corn either way.
Instead of watching football, we watch baseball. And when it comes to counter-programming, instead of watching the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, we watch dogs of another kind go down in the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest. Instead of knowing some network will air the black-and-white classic film Miracle on 34th Street, you know some network will air the black-and-white classic film Yankee Doodle Dandy.
Instead of Macy’s putting on a huge parade complete with celebrities singing big powerful ballads, Macy’s puts on a huge fireworks display, complete with celebrities singing big powerful ballads.
While Thanksgiving is filled with head-bowing and thankful prayers but mostly now-let’s-eat, the Fourth of July is filled with head-bowing and solemn readings from our Founding Fathers but mostly now-let’s-eat.
And even though Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July are just one day, we somehow find a way to stretch that long weekend into a whole week of nothing really getting done.
Sure, Thanksgiving has more cornucopia centerpieces and sure, Independence Day has more bunting, but both have copious amounts of pie.
Yes, sir. Nothing says America like pie. Come to think of it, nothing says America like stretching that long weekend into a whole week of nothing really getting done, either.
God bless America indeed.
Yes indeed. Welcome to me.