Me and the 4th of July: A Love/Hate Relationship

After a great holiday weekend like my family and I have just had, it only stands to reason that I would have to write about it. We went to a great little “Bed and Breakfast” in Glen Rose, Texas called the Country Woods Inn. I put “Bed and Breakfast” in quotes because that’s what they call themselves – I wouldn’t have called them a bed-and-breakfast, because they only served breakfast on Saturdays and Sundays, and even then they only had a continental breakfast. No, I think they need to change their name, so they don’t give the wrong impression about themselves. They’re more like “Country Cottages” than a “Bed and Breakfast.” Anyway, more about the trip – if you’re not from Texas, you probably didn’t realize that Glen Rose is the dinosaur capital of the Texas.  Dinosaur Valley State Park is just outside the city of Glen Rose, and it houses some of the best-preserved dinosaur tracks in the world (or at least my world). Right before you get to the state park, there’s an attraction called Dinosaur World, where you can pay $13 a person to see dinosaur replicas dispersed throughout a pretty walking trail. And to top it all off, there’s the Creation Evidence Museum nearby, which explains that the earth is really not all that old, that dinosaurs lived at the same time as humans, and that the Great Flood of Noah’s time can explain many of the issues that seem to contradict the creation story of Genesis 1 and 2. These are all just a few of the things you can do in Glen Rose – there’s also a great river to swim in, and lots of trails to hike and bike in the state park. We spent 3 nights at the Country Woods Inn, and we experienced much of what Glen Rose has to offer, but the best and worst of our trip had to do with the fact that it was the weekend of the 4th of July.

If you’re not from America, you might not understand the importance of the 4th of July – American Independence Day. And if you’re from England, you may not care for the 4th of July, since that’s they day we officially split ways with you. I, personally, have a love/hate relationship with this holiday, and I’ll explain why:

Why I love the 4th of July

  1. It’s So American. You know how on St. Patrick’s Day you’re supposed to wear green, or else someone is allowed to pinch you?  We need to start doing that on the 4th of July, only with red, white, and blue! No one has an excuse not to wear red, white, and blue on that day – every t-shirt shop in the country sells shirts for cheaper than dirt that have an American flag on them, or at least some patriotic color schemes. Last summer I got 2 patriotic Christian shirts from the Christian bookstore for the price of one, and I still wear them throughout the year (maybe I’m a little more patriotic than most people – or maybe I am just low on t-shirts and I wear what I’ve got…). We love to fly our flags on the 4th, too. No one really has an excuse not to fly a flag that day…heck, even the everything-costs-one-dollar store sells plastic ones for $1 (even if they do have 61 stars instead of 50).
  2. It’s So Unique. Only in America would we celebrate American Independence Day. You know that trick question where someone asks if there is a 4th of July in England? Of course they have a 4th of July – just like they have a 3rd of July and a 5th of July. But what England or any other country in the world does not have is a 4th of July. Notice the italics? Nope, no other country in the world celebrates the italicized version of the 4th of July. And on top of that, do you know any other countries where they can refer to a day as the number-of-the-month only, and still know what they’re talking about?  We can say, “So, what are you doing on the fourth?” and everyone knows were talking about he 4th of July! Every heard a French person say “We’re going to the lake on the 11th…”??  No, because no one knows what holiday falls on the 11th of any month. It happens to be Armistice Day on November 11th, but it’s not as cool as the 4th of July.  We’re unique, and we like it that way.
  3. It’s So Outdoorsy. I know a lot of people like to barbecue on Labor Day and Memorial Day, but nothing says “get outside and cook something with raw fire” like the 4th of July. Everything that I love to ingest can be cooked on the 4th of July – hamburgers, hot dogs, fajitas, chicken quarters – and all of it can be cooked on a grill, outdoors. To top it off, the 4th is the official go-to-the-lake-even-though-it’s-too-crowded-to-actually-do-anything day. State parks are full of campers, hiking trails are full of hikers and bikers, and little kids all suffer from erythema due to radiation exposure (a.k.a., sunburn). You don’t have this kind of fun in December or January!

Why I hate the 4th of July

  1. Fireworks. I’m not against fireworks, per se, I just hate how loud they are. I actually love to watch fireworks from a distance and see their many bright colors flashing across the canvas of a pure black night sky. But I hate how loud they are. Every time I’ve watched fireworks up close, I end up saying “huh?” for the next 2 days whenever someone speaks to me. I don’t know, maybe my ears are just too sensitive. We stayed at the “Bed and Breakfast” that I mentioned earlier, and even though there were signs everywhere that said that fireworks were not allowed inside the city limits, people decided to shoot them anyway – until 12:00 at night. I went to bed at 9:00, and for 3 hours I listened to every little pop, bang, and pow that they could muster only a few yards outside our window. Our poor dog, who’s afraid of thunder, thought the world was coming to an end. It was a miserable couple of hours. They should invent silent bottle-rockets or something, so people who like to see but hate to hear them can enjoy them.
  2. The Heat. Why in the world did we decide the declare independence during the hottest month of the year? Where I live, we usually have triple-digit heat this time of year! Couldn’t we have declared independence in a more comfortable month, like October? I hear New England is beautiful in the fall. But when it’s triple-digits out there, all I want to do is curl up by an A/C vent with my tongue hanging out. I realize it’s not my most attractive look, but when it’s this hot, I really don’t care.
  3. The Crowds. As I was saying above, everything is crowded on the 4th of July. The parks are packed with people, the campgrounds are crammed with campers, and the lakes are laden with loungers. How’s that for alliteration? To top that off, the beaches are brimming with bodies, and the oceans are overflowing with oil. Wait, that last one wasn’t supposed to be true. Anyway, I can’t blame people for wanting to get out and enjoy a little fun in the sun while they have some time off of work. I just try and stay away from the crowds as best I can, which isn’t hard since, like I said, I’m usually pasted to the A/C vent with my tongue hanging out.

How about you? What do you love or hate about the 4th of July?

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