When I was a kid, my parents would pack us into the station wagon and head to Iowa. We would make limited bathroom stops. Even then, it would be a quick in and out--no dawdling. We had a mission and in a timely manner.
We would stop in York, Nebraska, for a potty break and McDonald's. I don't know why it was always mcdonald's and not some other fast food restaurant. What I do remember is that I could never order a plain cheeseburger. It would take too much time. Instead, a burger would be ordered for me and I could pick off the onions, ketchup, pickles--basically, anything that I didn't like, I could wipe off of the burger. I couldn't get my parents to understand that it was gross. The ketchup/onion combination had already soaked into the bun. That residue could not be wiped away or made better. They didn't care. As mentioned, we had a schedule to keep. I had to stay the course or not eat. My parents did not make threats. They spoke the truth. I learned to get over my idea of what gross or unacceptable was.
Upon arriving in Iowa, we were free. We could run up the two blocks to the church that had once been a school. We could spend time with the neighbor kids who were our ages or find one of the cousins that we would see every summer. That night, the festivities would kick off. Fireworks, baseball and beer. Well, beer for the grown-ups. We would be distracted by the numerous cousins to play with. I do remember enjoying 4th of July in Westphalia, tremendously. The last time I was back was in 1997--I think. Jade drove her and I up to spend a 4th of July with our dad, some aunts/uncles, and of course, cousins. We were able to sneak beer at that point. We saw some of our first cousins which had been a rarity and of course, the extended family that lived in Iowa year round. 4th of July, in Iowa, never disappointed.
This morning, I was invited to a pancake feed in SF with my friend, Danielle, and her parents. I agreed as I didn't have other plans. Although, I am not the biggest pancake fan. I think the last pancake I ate was during the summer of 98 while in college. Study abroad in Mexico. The senora thought pancakes would be a treat for us Americans. Every time she made pancakes, I was extremely hungover and the pancakes did not soak up hurt from the previous night. Pancakes and I are not in a love/love relationship. So, I was pleasantly surprised, today, when I didn't hate them. We sat in the plaza and people watched. The breakfast was well attended. There were artisans, artists and a car show. We walked through some of the cars before heading back to Danielle's parents house. She has to work today.
I am glad that I made the effort to spend the 4th in a festive way. Although beer was not involved, it did remind me of my summers in Iowa. The community aspect of knowing everyone and congregating in the town square. Would I have turned down a mimosa...probably not. There is always later. Melody and I have plans to meet and dine where I work. I figure, why not? She hasn't dined there and I could sample some of the offerings, relaxed, as opposed to inhaling it in the back.
However you choose to spend this day, enjoy it, immensely. Cheers!