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I've always gotten a kick out of the Fourth Of July, partially because it was the only holiday anywhere near my birthday, but it wasn't a holiday that I got too into. I never went out and bought $300 in fireworks, or rushed out to the reservation to buy the illegal ones they sold, but I did enjoy the day. We'd usually track down some grassy knoll to watch the show and set off a small display at home. I always enjoyed the carbon snakes and the goofy paper machine ones. Never got too into the loud obnoxious ones or bottle rocket types.
One thing I did like about the Fourth was picking the watermelon. I was the King. I had a very particular series of criteria that I followed to the letter, every time, and woe to any fool that dared choose a watermelon that I didn't approve of! I may have been a goofy kid, but I can swear, in my admittedly murky memory, not once did anyone pick a better one than mine. My cousin's were always gritty or squishy or less sweet. My melons reigned supreme!
In recent years, the holiday lost a lot of it's luster for me. It became about crowds and obnoxious kids and ridiculous lengths to get to the fireworks show and even more ridiculous lengths to escape the crowds afterwards. And our pups have been a bit upset by the constant popping and whistling that was a constant thing in our neighborhood. And for those of you that might notice I haven't mentioned the patriotic aspect of the holiday... well... you just go back to your hamburger, I'm sure that is supporting the troops somehow. ;) (I just used an emoticon in a blog post to diffuse a vaguely offensive post about the military.... Sheesh.)
This year is was especially low key. Maine is one of sixteen states to ban fireworks, so I hardly even noticed the holiday approaching without the gypsy style wagons popping up in parking lots, which is kind of a shame. I like the carnival aspect of them. I did buy some steak and a melon at the grocery store while I was buying ice for my work, and we had it this evening, but other than that, the best thing about tonight was my work's choice to not play John Phillip Sousa all day. Hooray for that!
By the way, melons today pale in comparison to those of my youth. They're genetically modified to extend their shelf life and eliminate seeds, resulting in a lame parody of the juicy, black seeded monstrosities from back in the day. Also, I paid $.45 a pound, which seems entirely far too much. But it was still good, and I managed to cook the steak perfectly on my goofy $35 camp grill.
On a non-fourth of July note, I got corralled by a customer in the parking lot outside of work today who jabbered on for almost ten minutes about how the government is seeding the skies with some sort of mind-controlling aerosol sprays, disguised as jet contrails. His name was Phillip and I'm sure he's perfectly nice, but also... crazypants! Both of his hands were deformed, with stunted, bulbous fingers, likely some birth defect. I think he decided to expose the government's insidious plots when I didn't flinch at shaking his hand. I got the feeling a lot of people shy away from them, I know I've noticed my cashiers act reluctant to give him his change directly. Doesn't excuse him keeping me from escaping work for an additional ten minutes, though.