Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th of July!

The flags around the court house have gone up!

The community of helpers arrived before 6 AM to put 468 flags into their respective places to honor those from Johnson County who served our country.

Just following the project, we gathered at the steak house on the square to have biscuits and gravy with juice and coffee and great conversation. It’s another thread in the tapestry of small town living. It’s great.
Fourth of July, 1913, my grandparents packed a picnic and took a rowboat out on Carter Lake in Omaha, Nebraska. The fishing expedition was cut short when my father made it clear he was about to put in his appearance on this planet…

My grandmother “complained” forever after that , “Herman ruined a perfectly good picnic” and Grandpa would add, “Yes, Phyllis. And we never did decide if he were a fizzle or a firecracker!” Then they would giggle and wink and we knew it was only a family joke.

Dad loved to tell about his tenth birthday.
His stash of fireworks was gone. He sat on the steps of the front porch, with his chin in his hands. It was mid morning on 4th of July and he had already shot his wad of works. That’s when his Uncle Jack showed up.
“What’s wrong, Bud?” Well, Uncle Jack had just the ticket. He took my dad to the nearest fireworks stand and spent TWENTY DOLLARS on things to blow up! Now, remember, this was 1923 and $20.00 was a LOT of money in those days!
Dad told about how he carried the large, heavy box back home and began the daylong process of setting of fireworks. He said that when the dark had enveloped the whole city of Omaha he was sick and tired of firecrackers!
He would go on to explain that 1923 had been a tough summer…that was the same year he realized that the flags were not all about HIS BIRTHDAY; they were for Uncle Sam. Furthermore, just to make things worse, he found out that chickens had white meat!

These were some of the stories that were retold year after year while we celebrated for Uncle Sam and my dad.
Now my dad is gone and I always hope to find someone to share his birthday with, I grin when I put out the flags with the other people from Johnson County, and I think my dad would be proud of the way we live our lives.
Dad was a business man, through and through. I think he would highly approve of the whole concept of Jeff Wellman and Dixie Brown’s Lay Off Your Boss 2…and I’d send you there NOW, just to check it out…but there is a funky link that doesn’t work.

Check back Monday, if you’re curious, and I’ll tell you more about it!

Meantime, have a good time on the 4th and be safe!

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