Saturday, July 4, 2009

July 4th Memories and Plans

What are some of your memorable July 4ths? Are there any special places, events or people you associate with the day? What are you planning for today? A Picnic? Fireworks? A day at the beach? Reading the and/or reciting the Declaration of Independence?

As I look back over previous July 4ths, three come to mind.

1976 was the summer between high school and college. On the day of our nation’s bicentennial I was travelling with three other West Virginia teenagers from our home state to Wilmington, Delaware. We flew into DC where we caught a train to Wilmington. We had a couple hours between the time our flight landed and catching the train so the four of us did the tourist thing in our nation’s capital on July 4, 1976. We wlaked around the Mall and into a museum or two. Unfortunately our train left before the fireworks display. Where were you, who where you with, and what were you doing on July 4, 1976 (if you were born before then)?

A year later I was enjoying a long weekend from a summer factory job. After getting off work on Friday, July 1, I hitch hiked to Seneca Rocks, WV. At Seneca I hooked up with a climbing buddy named Greg and we spent the July 4th long weekend climbing during the day, hiking in the evenings, including hiking around the summit of Spruce Knob, and partying with other climbers at night on July 2nd and 3rd. On Monday, July 4th, Greg and I scouted out Church Rocks and then I headed back home. What I remember most about that long July 4th weekend is sun, rock and blue sky without a drop of rain or a worry in the world.

In 1984 I was pulling resident chaplain duty in a Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) program at a hospital in Northern New Jersey. The chaplain supervisor and the five other CPE Students had the day off. I got stuck spending all 24 hours of the July 4th holiday in the hospital. Not only was I NOT paid time and half for working on a holiday, I was actually paying the hospital to do what I was doing. Go figure. Needless to say, this is not my happiest recollection of a July 4th. The only thing that redeemed that July 4th was my wife coming to the hospital to have dinner with me. We watched nearby fireworks out the windo near the top os a stairwell. Do you have any memories of July 4 you would rather forget?

Today I will be working at Eastern Mountain Sport in SoHo. My wife will meet me after work and we will hang out in Manhattan and probably head over to the Hudson to view the fireworks. The day promises to be seasonable, and dry, almost perfect Juky 4th weather. I’d rather be kayaking, climbing or backpacking than working, but all in all I think this will be a good Fourth of July.

What are you planning for today?

In the grand scheme of things, celebrate that in the Unites States of America we have the freedom to make our our plans, the freedom to choose how we will spend the day, and the freedom to decide whether or not we even want to mark this day.

1 comment:

luseana said...

Although I did go kayaking on July 4, I also spent some time in the city. I met John after work and we made our way to dinner at Son Cubana in the Meatpacking District and then on to the biggest fireworks display in the country on the Hudson at Pier 54. Great July 4!

In the past, I remember going to the movies to cool off on a hot and sticky July afternoon especially when the weather was crummy. If you can't be in your backyard pool on July 4 in NJ, then you'd better be someplace you can cool off!