Friday, July 3, 2015

The 4th. the 4th, the 4th - Division, fireworks and apple pie

First of all, to all of those who celebrate Independence Day here in the States, have at it. Please do. The way I used to celebrate it as a kid is long behind me. Oh, I ate up my share of home-made strawberry ice cream, ate as much potato salad and cold chicken and fresh tomatoes and corn, and drained a lot of lemonade-filled glasses and scarfed down pie (whatever fruit my grandfather could scare up for the main desserts) with the best of them. Said fruit died happily in peach or apple or blueberry cobblers. My grandmother and my mother would cook for daaaaays; so would any other family member who had a "speciality" we craved and cried for like widdle babies. And they had JOBS too. So I don't get this "I don't have time to cook" mentality of today. Maybe, just maybe, step away from Twitter and Tumblr and Facebook for a couple hours and go SHOP FOR and COOK something! Anyhoo, these folks of the last century had responsibilities and still cooked. From SCRATCH. Now this here holiday was chiefly viewed in my family as a day off. From hearing the boss's mouth. From hearing the voice of ANYONE who had power over your life. Now before meditation and "raising your vibration" so you could float above the ish of others, there was the land of "shut you the eff down." Just plain ole tune you out. So the 4th of July, and other holidays were used by my family to refuel before having to jump back into the fray. That was their definition of freedom.

There were a lot of Vets in my family, so I saw them salute and stuff to the flag was more about honoring lost comrades, not kowtowing to a piece of cloth. One uncle, who'd survived WWII, ALWAYS got blotto at all occasions and was the only one who'd let it rip about his "gubmint." No family get-together would be complete without his dressing down of his years serving under "idiots with connections" and the blatant racism run a muck then in the armed forces. As outrageous and tough as he was, I knew as I got older that his outbursts were his residual hurt. Hurt made worse by his pride in serving his country and by his small, hidden streak of patriotism for said country that'd only pulled him off KP duty, and had trusted him with a gun because the Allies were losing the friggin' war. He fought in the "European Theatre" in France in the Ardennes. His nickname was "Bull of the Woods" because after he'd psyched himself up to a fever pitch to engage the enemy, his battalion said he was a force majeure. So, bravado aside, he came home shell-shocked, in need of psychiatric help and never got it. He passed at 83 still hurt, angry and ashamed of his admiration for serving a country for which he'd put his life on the line, and could not have given two shits about him and others of his hue. With all the institutionalized push back and reproach, my family knew their rightful place in this land and claimed it. They NEVER, EVER questioned their right to be a part of this country. That was others' favorite dead horse to beat.

Which brings me to the sad state of affairs concerning racial matters in the US of A this holiday. We have certain folk imitating us. We have us killing one another and others gleefully joining in to help, legally or illegally. I used to think that millennials were rather... useless. Sorry. That's how they came off. Self-absorbed, possessing the attention span of a gnat unless a topic revolved around them, skeptical and naive at the same time, chiefly enterpreneurial, disconnected from their surroundings unless anything Apple was waved in front of them. But in recent months, millennials have found their purpose, in my eyes at least. They are the voice of accountability. I hope they stay that way. My Boomer generation was like that once, until they became bankers, lawyers, doctors and such. And got mortgages. And gave birth to you. We were lions once. Now, we are simply lying down. I added the link to an article in the Griot published last winter. It speaks volumes to me. it's about one of the new lions. His work is gritty and some will sigh "too harsh" but he captures a moment in present/past American history in a single image. Make the acquaintance of Mister Patrick Campbell, Millennial.

And what will I be doing tomorrow? Besides passing the torch, this Boomer is gonna make herself a plate of sliced, chilled chicken with fresh broccoli and corn sides. For dessert, a scoop of strawberry ice cream AND a helping of peach cobbler. Then I'll lift several glasses of hard lemonade to all those absent and to this "messy" country because I belong here. Oh, and I'll be checking my email for the proofs of my next installment in THE FELIG CHRONICLES. It's called GAMBIT and is book 5. I'll read more research for my next historical tentatively titled, "SWORN." And, of course, listen to Old School 100.3. It's a Breakwater, Heatwave, BT Express kind of weekend. Yes. I need it.

"New Age of Slavery" by Patrick Campbell

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