This past 4th I did not cookout, or make a picnic of fried chicken and potato salad, or make the latest viral food fad.
Nor did I join in the melancholy nostalgic elegies for Sheriff Andy Taylor of Mayberry RFD. I will miss him, too, but I can’t say anything more eloquent than what these folks have said. (Ken Levine, NYTimes) The Andy Griffith Show will be a perpetual summertime memory for all of America. (Well, white America, at least.)
I did not watch fireworks or even so much as light sparklers.
I did not read the Declaration of Independence, or any book on how America got invented on July 4th, or even that famous assessment of the American Character by Alexis de Toqueville, “Democracy in America“, which I’ve been meaning to read for some time.
I thought no deep thoughts about our reckless rush into revolt more than two hundred years ago, and how long the odds were against the colonies, and which side I might have taken had I lived in those times.
I watched no parades, nor did I listen to John Phillip Sousa’s “The Stars and Stripes Forever”, nor did I hunt up my American flag and plant it in my front yard.
Instead I did that other national activity — which is to say I worked.
Yes, The Man needed me on a job site in the deep south, so I spent my day in an air conditioned construction trailer, watching nothing much happen as all the construction workers had been allowed off for the holiday and for an extremely long weekend.