Today is the 4th of July. This is the birthday of my country, the United States of America.
Even the flowers were being patriotic today. Well, without the blue.
For many, many years I took Independence Day for granted. I shouldn't have - I grew up in a neighborhood where a lot of Holocaust survivors had settled, and I met other immigrants - from Cuba, from Romania, from China.
But I had never spent an Independence Day away from the United States - until 2008, when my spouse and I found myself leaving the United States for Canada, on our way to Saint John, New Brunswick.
We had always wanted to see the Bay of Fundy, and that was the week my spouse was able to get off - the week following July 4.
At the U.S./Canada border, a Canadian border agent questioned our motives for visiting Canada and looked at us funny - like we were about to commit some kind of crime. Why, after all, would two Americans want to leave their country on this most important day?
Perhaps he still had heartburn from a bad piece of Canada Day cake . That's a custom that I wish our country would adopt, by the way - after all, July 4 is the birthday of our country. I love how various towns in Canada will serve a Canada Day cake to its citizens.
Perhaps, one day, I will plan to participate in both holidays. We only live some 180 miles from Canada, after all.
Anyway, back to the border, we were finally allowed in, and quickly realized we were in a place where July 4 was simply the day between July 3 and July 5. No big deal. And, we realized, there would be no fireworks. No parades. No nothing. Crickets.
Well, we had asked for it, leaving our native land.
I love fireworks. I love 4th of July fireworks even better. What had I been thinking? But, so be it.
After a long drive, we arrived at our lodgings in downtown Saint John. We wandered down to the waterfront, hungry. After deciding on a restaurant, we sat at an outdoor table and put our order in. And then we overheard the people at the next table, excited about the fireworks Saint John was going to have, not too far away, that night.
July 4 fireworks in Canada?
It turned out that we had arrived on the first decent day in July. The Canada Day fireworks had been delayed by rain on July 1. And on July 2. And on July 3.
July 4? Bingo!
So, that evening, my spouse and I stood in a patriotic crowd of Canadians who celebrated their birthday, three days late, with fireworks. And I pretended it was our Independence Day.
I'm so glad they held their fireworks up just so we could join them on July 4. Who says Canadians aren't some of the friendliest people in the world?
But I'll never leave the United States on July 4 again. And so tonight, I am at home near Binghamton, New York. Today we walked, and my spouse BBQ'd a turkey breast.
And now, we are getting ready to go to a baseball game, with fireworks after.
What did you do today?