Rockin’ the Fourth

Posted on January 27, 2011 by Jeff

Hi, I’m a Canadian citizen living legally in the USA and I’ve successfully navigated through another 4th of July.  It’s getting easier, and I’m not sure if my American pride is escalating or if my expectations towards the behavior of people on the 4th are lowering.  But I rather enjoyed our holiday weekend.

My first every July 4th in the USA was in Nags Head North Carolina.  I was interning at a church and I thought “why not put together a small vocal ensemble and sing a nice patriotic number at church on July 4th??”  I had no idea what I was getting into.  We had 6 of us on stage… one Russian (a fellow north central university student) one Canuck (myself) and four Yankees.  We sang a nice ‘God bless America, we rock, we’re God’s favorite country’ song.  People we’re listening, watching smiling… But the song contained a middle section where we all sang “Oh Beautiful for spacious skies…” and that point the crowd closed their eyes and raised their hands.  I was puzzled.  “Are they worshipping the purple mountains and their majesty”??? I wondered.

After the song ended and the standing ovation died down, the VERY southern pastor got up and said  “How ‘bout that folks! A Canadian and a Russian both singing to the God of AMERICA!”  Everyone whooped and hollered. “Yah!” “whoo hoo”  “America Yah! WOO!”

It was then that my love affair with July 4th began. (By that way, as an outsider I should let you know that an Ocean, white with foam, doesn’t paint a pretty mental picture.  In fact, foam isn’t nice ever… unless on a cappuccino.  Foam is third on my list of least favorite words… after ‘moist’ and ‘ointment’)

The 4th of July “head-scratching” moments continued each year there after and this year was no different….

The July 4th Parade is a mystery to me.  I get the actual parade.  I like the small town idea of everyone coming out and sitting by the street, watching guys in funny hats drive really close to each other in their miniature race cars… that makes sense.  What I don’t get are the crabby people.  I don’t understand why people put their blankets and chairs out there 3 days before.  It occurs to me that fights have almost occurred as a result of parade-viewing-blanket placement protocol.  The whole thing is too high stress.

I have a solution.  I nominate myself for the ‘office of appropriate perspective’ (OAP).  My first task would be implementing a “No blankets til July 4th” law.  People could put out stuff at 12:00AM of July 4th and no sooner.  My chief job as the director of the OAP would be to drive through the parade route at 11:59pm July 3rd and snatch all prematurely placed seating utensils.

However, This year’s 4th was a lot of fun for the Kerr family.  We went to IHOP for breakfast, skipped the parade and went to see the movie “Cars”, took naps, bought legal boring fireworks, had a bonfire in the evening and set off the fireworks.  The city of Farmington was alive with cracks, pops and lights thanks to all the law-ignoring citizens who were setting off the more exciting illegal brand of fireworks.  This was a great 4th experience.  The best part of the evening was as darkness was setting in we could hear music… “What is that?… is that a trumpet?”  Kristie asked.  Sure enough one patriotic soul down the street couldn’t contain it anymore and had to go grab his trumpet and start blasting out all the America favorites… “God Bless America” etc.  We found this quite amusing.  He then grabbed his electric guitar, turned it up to eleven, and started playing all the “America” songs on the guitar.  Hendrix’s Star Spangled Banner, American Woman by the Guess Who… of course he ran out of patriotic material and kicked out the amateur guitar player standard “stairway to heaven” and Sabbath’s “Iron man”.  We went inside.

It’s my conclusion that the “head scratching” moments is what the 4th of July is all about.  Happy Independence, America.  You Rock.