I hope you had a wonderful time celebrating the Fourth yesterday with your friends and family, and yes, I made Fourth a verb in today’s title. My blog, my rules. Today is the blissfully lazy Fifth of July, or Eat Leftovers For Breakfast day (I had pie and mac n cheese for breakfast) and James has the day off. Since we were so busy yesterday, we decided to be delightfully lazy today, ie, if we don’t clean this house I will die. But first, some pictures from our Fourthing yesterday.
Despite its super cliché nature, we started the day off with the Independence Day parade. This was my first DC Fourth and I have high standards, so I felt that we should take in the classics. And as you can see, we marveled in the joy of belonging to a nation where massive inflated eagles, roller derby girls, and mighty military men share the road.After the parade, we stopped in at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the mall. This year the highlighted country was Hungary, and nothing says Independence Day like Hungarian stilt-walking. As can be seen below, James thrived on those stilts and I was a total failure. We passed up the Hungarian lamb stew (make sure to read that recipe closely) for some more American fare of chicken and waffles.
And then I spent several hours doing Hungarian folk dancing, because that should be a Fourth of July given. People, I was MEANT for Hungarian folk dancing. All of the moves are just like segments from the Cha Cha Slide (which I LOVE) combined with a little extra stomping and a lot more yelling. Unfortunately, when I get REALLY EXCITED (as is bound to happen when you put a Hannah in the path of some dancing and excessive clapping for no real purpose) I do this scary smile where I recede my head back on my neck and I display at least 20 chins. Oh, and it was 95 degrees out, so I was also dying of heat. Don’t say you weren’t warned. James opted to sit the dancing out so that he could take these truly frightening pictures. Our children will surely thank him someday. After walking back from the mall and worshipping the AC units for a couple hours, we headed out to our Fourth of July cookout! Lyman just moved to DC and has a house with a fantastic backyard which I plan on commandeering henceforth for all my parties.
The evening ended with a mad dash across town to watch the fireworks from the roof of James’ office building and then back to our party for some sparkler fun. I know it sounds cliché, but I feel honored and blessed to live in this country. I was looking at people’s Facebook statuses yesterday and I was struck by how all of them were about the Fourth, but of two varieties. There were the excited generic ones, but there were also a lot that chose the Fourth as a way to complain about what is wrong with our country. It seems like we spend 364 days doing that already… can’t we take this day to remember what is right with America? I don’t mean a false bravado and hubris — I mean real deep esteem for what is worth being proud of. James and I were talking yesterday about how this day is meant not just to commemorate an event, or a specific person or group, but also the ideas that started our nation. Ideas of the dignity of human life, equality, justice, and freedom. These are worth celebrating. Yes, our history has shown that we don’t always live them out as we should. But we still had the courage to write them down and say, “For these things we will risk everything — even if we don’t yet know how to honor them.” I think that’s worth celebrating. I remember my French host mother (who hated Bush, the military, capitalism, etc.) saying that one thing she did admire about America was that we aren’t afraid to recognize a problem and confront it. In the relatively short history of our country, we have addressed all the problems that it took a lot of other countries centuries to confront. That’s worth celebrating. America is worth celebrating.