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God Bless the USA!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007
Erma Bombeck wrote, "You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism."

Last night we embraced our patriotism by hosting our 17th annual 4th of July party! It's hard to believe that we've been doing this for so long! The party has grown over the years. The first few years just included family and a couple of friends. Last night we had around 75 little patriots! We had all of the regular holiday treats, grilled hamburgers and hot dogs, watermelon, potato salad and chips. Every year people bring a variety of sides and desserts to add to the mix. In addition to the regular cookies, macaroni salad and ambrosia, last night we also had about 5 dozen cobs of corn for the grill, Japanese dumplings, Mexican flan and a special Butterfinger cheesecake as a belated birthday treat for Rod from some friends!

What a group! We had friends from church, from work, from grade school, from high school and from college. We had parents, grandparents, children, grandchildren and even one "baby on board" who will be here celebrating with us next July 4th. And we had our family. Nick and Chris were both able to be with us as well as my sister and her daughters. The only person that we were missing was Rod's dad, Bud. Last year he had moved from our home to a nursing home where he could get better nursing care as he entered the last stages of pancreas cancer. Nick and I went to pick him up and he was waiting for us, all ready to go! In fact, he was a little crabby because we hadn't picked him up sooner! He said he had some eating to do, people to visit and fireworks to watch. Unfortunately, the evening was harder on him than any of us anticipated and he only lasted about an hour and 1/2. He passed away three weeks later. He had made so many friends over the last 17 years of parties. Although the evening was wonderful, we all felt Bud's absence.

As I was enjoying my second piece of cheesecake, I looked around at all of the people celebrating the 4th with us. In addition to "locals" we also had visitors from Japan, Romania and Canada. It reminded me of a special evening Rod and I had with our good friends Allan and Carol a couple of weeks earlier. They asked if we would like to go with them to their synagogue to enjoy Shabbat services with their new cantor. As Rod and I enjoyed listening to the beautiful music (trying to translate the Hebrew words into English with the help of their prayer books) I looked around the room and to the outside windows. In my head, another song was playing. It was Lee Greenwood's, "God Bless the USA!" Here we were, two Methodists, sitting in a beautiful synagogue enjoying a beautiful Shabbat service with our friends. Outside the windows, the traffic passed without any notice, while inside we were fully welcomed. No one complained, no one picketed. We were just two people enjoying an evening with friends, praying to the same God. I know I haven't been everywhere in the world and, in fact, some people call me downright naive. But I can't imagine there are very many other places in this world where we would have been able to have such a wonderful evening. God bless the USA!
Happy Independence Day! (plus 1!)

Oh, by the way...if anyone was wondering how Charlie's (133 pound yellow lab) 4th of July celebration was...I can sum it up in one word...satisfying. I can also use a variety of other words to describe it...disgusting, piggish, sneaky...
While we were all outside watching all of the beautiful fireworks, Charlie seized the moment by going to the food table and "cleaning up" a few things for us. He cleaned up the rest of the cheeseburgers (4), 1/4 pound hot dogs (3) and chicken breasts (3). After he "cleaned up" he then THREW UP! But, he only threw up some of the chicken. So, he was basically very comfortable so he jumped up on the couch and fell asleep. Happy 4th, Charlie!

4 comments to God Bless the USA!:

Debbie said...

I can't believe how big your dog is! You have pics posted?

Jacqniel said...

Sounds like you had an awesome 4th! We do live in an amazing country and our diversity and ability to appreciate and enjoy these differences is part of what makes us so great.
Charlie is one blessed pooch. He gets to cavort with skunks and eat primo grill meats. What a life!

Colleen said...

What a wonderful 4th of July you all had! I bet you any money that indeed, Bud was with you all that day in spirit! I'm glad you all had a great time, including Charlie, that little sneak!! hehe

The Admiral said...

At least Charlie didn't roll in it. Or did he?

How did Japanese and Romanian people find Omaha??

I ask that, in the same vein that I asked my grade-school principal, whose parents homesteaded in Oklahoma and lived in a sod house near Olustee, OT (when it was still a territory), how did Norwegians find Olustee, Oklahoma?