On Saturday, in honor of our country’s Independence, Joe and I drove thirty five minutes to cheer on the marchers in our favorite parade. We were five minutes late and would have missed them completely if they hadn’t done a U-turn and retraced their route past the white-porches and general store of Blue Grass (formerly Crab Bottom), Virginia. It’s the same every year. Children on bicycles with red and blue streamers tangled in their spokes rush ahead of the red faced parents tugging their toddlers in red Radio Flyer wagons down the hill. They are followed by a phalanx of four-wheelers with flag waving teen-agers. They are in charge of the CD player for the line of cloggers tapping up the asphalt behind them. Next, a few civic minded citizens stroll past, decked out in crazy red, white and blue hats. Our local Maple queen and her court, in flip flops and halter tops, toss candy to the crowds lining the route as they stop to chat with friends. I score a Mary Jane, and three pieces of bubble gum. Finally, shirtless Stew, who sports a Mohawk and moccasins trots past on his noble black nag followed by cute little Carly on her Shetland Pony. It’s all over but the pooper scooping as the marchers disperse and line up for home-made ice-cream churned on the spot by the Friends of the Book Bank.
Tonight, we continue our celebration with Doc who is on a brief leave from the Naval Academy. He has finished his plebe year and has come to visit Scott. They stay at the house long enough to share supper with us before packing up to spend the night up on the mountain. When they leave, Joe and I clear the table and then sit on the front porch under a star spangled sky and watch all the fireworks going off up and down our valley. Sue and Bobby, our neighbors across the street and over the hill, are really putting on a show and we watch their green and gold and red and silver chrysanthemums bloom against the black shoulders of Jack Mountain for at least 45 minutes. When the last explosion echoes off the hill behind us, Joe heads back inside but I hang out a bit longer to watch the earth-bound fireworks as fireflies rise up from the dark lawn. One last look at the night sky reveals Venus low on the horizon and tucked next to Regulus in the Sickle of Leo. I watch until she sinks from sight. A lone shooting star crosses right through the ladle of the Big Dipper and the sky show officially ends. It’s been a perfect celebration. Happy Fourth of July.