Responsible parenting and leadership are a start. In between reaching for the sky (Toy Story rocks).

Screw the darkness. I prefer the lightness of Pop.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Retro K: Zip around like sweaty specters until our bellies ached

The neighborhood I grew up in used to have huge block parties on the 4th of July. No matter the feuds or dysfunction the adults on the street experienced throughout the year, and second only to Christmastime, America's birthday was the grand celebration unification forgiveness melting pot of the year.

And it was a melting pot because growing up in Visalia, California was hot. Triple digits. But man, did the sprinklers, cola, lemonade, watermelon and homemade ice cream cool us kids off (while the adults were heating up with alcoholic beverages).

Throw in the grilled hot dogs and hamburgers, the potato salad, the corn on the cob, the fresh baked pies and cakes and God stop me now. My sister and I and the other neighborhood kids would zip around like sweaty specters until our bellies ached, only visible to the naked eye when we stopped to breathe and hold our sides and of course once it was dark enough to light the sparklers and shoot off the fireworks (this was the Central Valley over three decades ago mind you, not the tinder box the mountainous areas of California have become this year – please be careful and don't shoot off illegal fireworks).

Then we grew up. I haven't experienced a block party like the old days since.

The neighborhood we live now, the one where Baby B will grow up until who knows what age, is wonderful and our neighbors are good folk and many have young children. We've been involved in our homeowners association, doing what we can to keep it a nice neighborhood for everyone. (I prefer the brick and mortar approach to making the world a better place – start by healing the heart and making it happy, then the home, then the neighborhood, the city, the state, the country…and you can figure out where it goes from there.)

Unfortunately there haven't been any block parties the past two years we've lived here (except for the annual homeowners meeting). We've proposed them, but no one is interested. We get it as well though: everyone is busy enough with their lives and their families.

I have hope though that maybe next year we'll put together one of those old-school block parties, so the kids can zip around like sweaty specters until their bellies ache and it's dark enough to not light illegal fireworks on our street. Good times.


Happy 4th of July, America. God bless you all.

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