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7.05.2012

CAROLINE'S STARS AND STRIPES FOREVER


My mom loves the 4th of July.  She goes all out for it; red tablecloth, flag plates, red plastic silverware, small flags in all her planters on the porch steps, star shaped dishes.  My grandfather once made her a table top flag holder.  She used it for some years.  Other years she has donned patriotic flagish red, white and blue colors for her outfit.  One year in particular we drove up to my parent's house on the 4th of July greeted by my mom in her newly purchased matching shorts and shirt flag outfit. 

You better believe she loves Lee Greenwood's "I'm Proud To Be An American".  And, she really gets into the Washington D.C. National Celebration that is televised on July 4th evening.  If there is a lapel pin, necklace, clip on earrings (her ears aren't pierced) or knick knack that promotes the flag or the Americana colors, she has it.

Her bathroom is done in Americana American Flag colors - muted reds, blues and creams, including stars and stripes wallpaper.  On that room's last remodel, my dad had two new cabinets and a make-up table made which he then painted a gentile reddish hue.  There is a wood flag hanging on the wall and other tchotchkes adorning the counter that add to its patriotic theme and colors.

If there was such a thing as a card carrying AMERICAN, my mom would have a lamented card.  She would be only eclipsed by say Betsy Ross.  She loves her country.  Deeply.

I was 10 years old in 1976, the bicentennial of our nation.  It was a magical time in every town, and our community was no different.  Our national bird, the American eagle, found its way into every nook and cranny of our society including; the outside of garages, the hoods of cars, painted on milk cans, the upholstery material for furniture, painted on mailboxes and furniture and doors.  It was a craze.  And it was like pot to my mom.

In our house in 1976 was most of the aforementioned paragraph's listed items.  We actually got our sofa reupholstered in American eagle fabric that year as well.  I thought it was sinfully ugly at the time and even more hideous in my mind as I recall it now.  The eagle seemed harsh and stern, like it wanted to peck my eyes out or teach me a moral lesson, which made me not feel relaxed while sitting or laying on it.  Since my grandfather and uncle were dairy farmers, we also had a milk can that my mom painted and put an American eagle decal proudly on it. 

Every little burg had a parade on the 4th of July that year.  There was hoopla in the air.  I can still remember my mom crazily waving her small hand-held flag as the parade went through town.  Music played.  Convoys of floats, dignitaries and bands made it the longest parade our little community had ever seen.  Of course John Phillips Sousa's song was played over and over.   It was an unusual year that culminated and then dissipated almost like fireworks do after a few seconds.

Yesterday was the 4th of July.  We went to my dad and mom's house.  She did not have patriotic clothes on, but the table was adorned with red.  The bathroom still screamed U.S.A. loudly.  And, my daughter made a fruit pizza with strawberries, blueberries and bananas partly to commemorate July 4th, but mostly to celebrate my mom's love of the 4th and all things red, white and blue.

My mom did what she has done as far back as my 45 year old mind can remember, drug whoever was willing (now fallen to the grand kids to oblige her) out to the corn field beside their house for her traditional 4th of July picture.  Every year she measures to see if the corn is knee high by the 4th of July (an old farming saying) compared to the knees of those she has coaxed into the corn.  They hold small flags as she takes pictures to document yet another 4th of July.  Always is there giggling and cheering, usually because the grand kids get such a kick out of their grandmother's passionate All Things Patriotic ways.

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