No, no photos this time. .just a rant.
This is, of course, the 4th of July, Independence Day celebrated with too much sun, food and noise. If I sound disgruntled, maybe it is because I live in an area where the economy depends mainly upon the tourist industry, and if I were to try to navigate the local beaches or even our downtown shoppes today, I would be hard pressed to think that people are cutting back on travel. I'm having to miss our weekly local Farmer's Market today, because I know that it will be impossible to find a parking space, and it will be bumper to bumper, stand still traffic, even getting to our downtown park.
And it will be the same next weekend, when the annual Art Festival is held, and the following weekend, the Venetian Festival overtakes our little town once again. I'm not alone in my disdain of avoiding our own local events, which admittedly by our city mothers and fathers, have outgrown our community's capabilities. And merchants know it, trying to figure out how to entice their neighbors to shop locally. But there are no easy answers.
Living in this area is a double edged sword. I was lucky enough to be born and raised here. The very reasons that I love the area, are the very same ones that draw out-of-towners in droves, which partially ruins the reasons why I love it here, at least in the Summer. It didn't used to be as bad, but with the advent of the interstate highways, making the getaway weekend quite easy from some major metropolitan areas, and the real estate market in the recent past years, complexes of condos and more marinas have sprung up like toadstools in a pine woods during a wet Spring. And with them, come the big city attitudes and put-downs.
While the economy is dependent upon their dollar, it is also our home. We don't like to be treated like servants, or people without brains, always ready to be taken in by fast talking, big city folk, who always think that they know more than we do. We are not here to be trashed, either verbally, or physically. We are not their dumping ground. And we tire of the complaints and comparisons to what they have at home, vs what is available here. If it is that horrible, then why come here in the first place?
This situation along our stretch of shoreline is no different than any of the other strings of little villages and towns along either coast of L. Michigan, and I imagine that it is the same along L. Huron, and the other Great Lakes too.
I feel rather melancholy, when I think of how, as a child, the 4th of July meant starting the day with a full cooked breakfast at the beach with all of my relatives, and how it would always be a day long event. (Nothing smells so good as food cooking in that fresh breeze off of the lake!) Then going home and getting cleaned up in time to go to the band concert at the band shell in the park, followed by fireworks. Then back home to light sparklers! How fortunate I am to have those memories to look back on!
Today, I wouldn't be able to get anywhere near the beaches because of the crowds. And we will watch the aerial fireworks from the comfort of our patio. And our concert will be on PBS. Not quite the same as live music, accompanied by a glorious sunset, but not as stressful, and certainly not a crowded!
We have been fortunate here, because so far, we haven't had any riots break out between the locals and the seasonal residents like some other towns just a few miles away. But each season, and each special event, such as holidays and festivals, I find myself mentally holding my breath, and then relaxing once it is over, that nothing so horrible as occurred.
Right now, I'm sitting here thinking about the 4th, and how, like so many of our other holidays, it has become an excuse for excessive behavior, far beyond what was the original intent. Personally, I love England as it is today, and since some of my ancestors came from England, along with the ones from Ireland and Wales, I have always had a great interest in the history of the British Isles. I also have my own personal thoughts about the wrongs that were inflicted upon the Native People of this country, and how today, their succeeding generations probably don't have too many reasons to celebrate the 4th of July, but I don't want to get into that now. The original reasons that this country was founded seem rather frivolous now, compared with current world problems, and when you consider the countries involved, but at the time, it was very important to this country's leaders and citizens. Since none of us were around then, we have to accept their wisdom and foresight, for the lives that we have inherited.
We should reflect on the foundation of this country, and how it has given us so many freedoms that other citizens, in other countries do not enjoy. With the exception of our soldiers who know first hand, the horrors of war, we all more or less take for granted our lives here.
A week ago, there was a weekend long, WWII re-enactment held on one of our beaches, complete with air power and heavy artillery. I didn't go and watch. It is beyond my understanding of how someone would want to re-live something so horrible. I can think of a lot of other ways to honor our veterans. But I experienced something else that never occurred to me. We live within range that I could hear all of the rounds of gunfire, the larger guns booming, and of course, the low flying planes right over our home. .this went on for hours. When it first started, I was alarmed, forgetting what was going on for a minute or two. As time passed, it became more unnerving. I told my hubs that I now knew what the people of England, France, and other European countries felt during WWII, hearing gunfire, and then the bombings. They earned new respect from me.
So, today will pass quietly, without the hoopla and celebrations of my youth. We won't battle the congestion and the crowds. I'll make some black raspberry jam, and then maybe more red raspberry, and then go out and enjoy working in my garden for a while, savoring the colors, the fragrances, and the songs of the birds. Then we'll enjoy a nice dinner, maybe outside if the mosquitoes aren't out yet, and I'll savor the day, being thankful of where I live, and able to enjoy the peace. There is more than one way to celebrate!
I hope that whatever you do today, and however you celebrate, that you have the best day ever, and are left with a warm feeling in your heart and glorious memories to relive!
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