This week 2014, vol. 22

I don’t know what we’ve done to deserve such pleasant weather this summer, but we’ve  had several very nice breaks in the heat and humidity that just make you want to maximize your outdoor time. Is there anymore work that needs to be done that I could take out onto the porch or into the yard? How far do we have to go? Do you think it would be that bad to walk 4.7 miles and back? Surely we could swing it. It’s so nice outside.

Though there certainly have been some sweaty moments, I’m still amazed at this summer after about 7 straight that spent significant time in the 100s with the humidity of a Turkish Bath. I’ve spent time just about every day on my front porch, reading, snacking, listening to podcasts, talking to Allyson, or just watching all the action in my little piece of Murray.

After spending nearly all of my last 16 summers at a camp, I really don’t have too many expectations when it comes to the Fourth of July. Our schedule was already planned out for us months in advance. We would see fireworks with the campers, but outside of that, it was a pretty typical camp day. So, like with Memorial Day, I don’t really have much first hand experience with what normal people do on Independence Day. I assume cook-outs, sports watching, and gatherings of either friends of family, like pretty much every other holiday, but I really think that for a holiday to be important it has to have something that distinguishes it. Otherwise, it’s just another day off for a get-together. There are, of course, fireworks, but we do that on New Years Eve too.

I like holidays that commemorate events, mostly because of my background in history, I guess. I think it is good to remind ourselves of where we came from and the things in our past we want to remember, for whatever reason. NPR broadcasted a reading of the Declaration of Independence by a bunch of people on the National Mall in Washington D.C. and it got me thinking a bit about the audacity of what that piece of paper meant. Since then, we’ve been trying to figure out exactly what we think it and plenty of other documents should mean today. Most of the time, we can figure out a way to make back up whatever opinion we have, which is often an opinion that benefits us directly. I’ve seen lots of posts recently that talk about our past, what this country has meant, what it’s done to and for people, and they are all over the map. As usual, I’m drawn to the ones that show it’s pretty complex, and there was good and bad and still is.

fireworksThe night of the Fourth of July, Allyson and I went out to the BP Station to get some Reece’s Cups. As we left, we saw the owner with his family in the parking lot setting off bottle rockets. We looked up in the sky and saw fireworks from all directions. We decided to climb the stairs of the Fine Arts Building to see what all we could see across town. After 8 flights, we arrived along with a father and two children. Looking out over maybe a 60 mile radius, we could see the fireworks from Murray to Kentucky Lake. It seemed pretty magical up there seeing all the lights, hearing all the booms, knowing that there were families and friends celebrating directly under each one.

Under each one of those flashes and booms there was a huge set of stories, some group of people connected for some reason. Maybe they shared the same blood, maybe they worked together, maybe they got each other through some of their hardest moments, maybe they were meeting for the first time. I’m sure there were disagreements, great reunions, budding love, anger held-in, appreciation, resentment, celebration, remembrance, mourning, dancing, and plenty that wasn’t even remembered the next day. But up there, 8 floors in the sky, we only saw the end result of those parties–flaming colors and lights lifting up into the sky all over. We only saw what was pretty that night. I put my arm around Allyson and squeezed tight, my chin on her shoulder as the cool night air spiced with a hint of smoke passed over us. There is plenty left for us to do. But these breaks are nice. We rush to these times to light the match, stand back, and hope for the best.

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