Monday, July 4, 2011

Fourth of July today and yesterday

Fourth of July in years past was celebrated with fireworks, parades, picnics in the park most of which we still have today. But what is different today from all the generations before us?
Yesteryear, the families in many of the smaller towns across the country, from young to old would gather in the town square to celebrate.
A small parade would go down Main Street, there were always little children dressed in homemade costumes in the parade. There would be the local town band, or school marching band and a float or two. Our veterans and those soldiers home from leave would march side by side with the local mayor and a few town officials. Small children would be on the shoulders of their parents and few would miss anything.
Afterwards the ladies would go off to get the food ready to bring to the town square, the gents off to set up the tables, sometimes having a sip of local brew. The children would usually play until it was time to wash and dress for the festivities. Yes even for a picnic everyone would dress nicely; even the poorest of the poor would put on their best.
There was a little bandstand where a couple of musician would gather, playing songs for the fourth.
The sound of the Barber Shop Quartets would fill the air, with the noise of the sack races, three legged races and many other types of games and sporting events for the young or young of heart to join into, relieving the excess emotion a day of socializing can bring.
Laughter could be heard over the music from the band stand and when the musicians took a break, why there was always someone to sit in, having brought their own guitar or banjo. Later on in the evening there would be dancing.
It was a day to celebrate not only our countries freedom, but a day to put aside differences and celebrate life with each other. It was a day where young and old could find the pleasure in the day and each other. Families and friends would talk, play, eat, sing and dance together.
It however wasn’t a day where you sat in front of the Television or brought your game boy, or cell phone to text your friends. Nor was it a day to separate yourself from those around you. It wasn’t a day to exclude others or a day when each family kept to itself as an island alone in the world, jaded with contempt for the simplicity of those that were making merry.
Well my friends do what do you think we can do to bring back a bit of the simple pleasures in life? Do you think we can find commonality in each other again? Can we slow our world just a bit to find the time to play the silly games of sack races? Or are we to be forever isolated from each other and our children as they text their friends and we text ours? Not talking to each other nor finding the joy in the moment. Can we find once again find the pleasure of life without some technical gadget hanging from our ear or in front of our face?

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