Thursday, August 13, 2020

Let’s get the party started, neighborhoods

| June 30, 2020 1:00 AM

Once upon a time, Americans didn’t need corporate sponsorships to pull off a big Independence Day bash.

If our ancestors wanted something done, everybody pitched in what they could. They did not merely petition the government to provide the celebratory service, which in fact seems kind of ironic looking at it now. A fitting tribute to those who contributed so much and even those who contributed so little were afforded the opportunity to celebrate the Fourth of July in the best fashion possible.

This year, thanks to a letter by Roger Garlock of Coeur d’Alene, maybe the COVID-19-caused cancellation of CDA’s beloved July 4 parade, party and fireworks display only means that the show can still go on — but on a smaller and perhaps broader, more personal scale.

Garlock’s modest proposal calls for families to arrange, as formally as they wish or have time for, some sort of Independence Day celebrations in their neighborhoods this Saturday. These could include decorating the kids’ wagons (and faces; red, white and blue go wonderfully with mustard yellow), dressing up the dog in his star-spangled beastly best, or perhaps trying to organize some of the better musicians among your neighbors (“better” being a subjective term) into a troupe to whoop along with, lovingly laughing with (and at) them.

Block parties with health guidelines being followed can still happen, with safety being even more a theme for this July 4 than most. We can still celebrate the many values that bring us together, which in fact sounds like a fine prescription for much of which ails us today.

So cancellation of big, formal Fourth of July bashes does not mean you’re banned from celebrating this holiday in your own way. Your kids or grandkids might always remember July 4, 2020 as the most impromptu, creative celebration mustered from the fragments of a holiday that blew up on us all — kind of like Ralphie’s introduction to Chinese turkey in A Christmas Story. (But please don’t blame that disaster on the Chinese.)

This year, let’s just turn the party over to big brother, not Big Brother.