Friday, July 7, 2017

Revving-up My Patriotism

Several years ago, we stepped out on the morning of July 4th to find the air full of smoke. A forest fire was burning in the foothills a few miles away.

I don't think any homes or lives were threatened and the fire was technically above the next town to the south, so there was no reason for plans to change.

The traditional mayhem of our community 4th of July celebration went on as usual. But it just felt wrong to be throwing a parade when the air was full of ashes and the world was on fire.

I approached Independence Day this year with the same sort of feeling. I was one of those lefties who ran around (within my physical limitations) with my hair on fire right after the election. That fire initially spurred a patriotic fervor to stand up against threats to the country I love.

Nine months later, the fire in my bones (and hair) has settled into a dull ache that blends in nicely with the RA and fibromyalgia.

 It seems like every day some new ugly thing once swept into a corner or under the rug comes proudly into the light. Exhausted and discouraged, I haven't even written to my congressmen for more than a month.

I can't afford to do that. As both the daughter of an immigrant and a descendant of Mayflower pilgrims, I have experienced every possible benefit and blessing of being American. It is my duty to preserve these benefits and fight to extend them to Americans who have been excluded from full enjoyment of our rights.

So this week, I have looked for ways to rev up my patriotism. NPR helped. On the Media broadcasted a great story about my favorite American composer, Aaron Copland. Morning Edition has a wonderful tradition of reading the Declaration of Independence each 4th of July. I was able to enjoy both multiple times and at my leisure due to the NPR app.

My community of Granite always celebrates the 4th in a big way. For early risers, there is a flag raising, breakfast, and fun run.

Running hasn't been fun for me for several decades, but I made sure to get up the hill for the parade. Though our area has changed greatly over my lifetime, from rural and working class to suburban and wealthy, the parade has remained a constant.

Everyone gathers to watch or participate. Though I recognize fewer people each year, it still makes me feel like a part of a larger community--my little corner of America.

All of my pictures (except the knitting) are from the parade this year. If you are a local and see yourself and want to be acknowledged, or removed, please let me know.

After the parade there is a carnival, once with volunteers running fish ponds and making fifty-cent snow cones, now featuring bouncy castles and food trucks. Since my kids are grownups. I don't have to attend.

Instead, I sent my kids out to buy me a cherry snow cone and went home for air conditioning.

While cooling down, I watched I Am Not Your Negro about the writer James Baldwin and his perspective on racism and the civil rights movement.

After that, I started reading the biography, Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow. Of course I also listened to the musical soundtrack and the mix tape.

Evening and night was family time. We ate dinner at my Uncle's house, catching up on cousin gossip and enjoying his energetic little grandkids.

To finish up, I met my sister at the  the Sandy City fireworks show. My sons are now old enough to lie on blankets and watch fireworks, but the cousins still have more fun making armor and weapons out of glow sticks and playing together in the dark. They are almost all teenagers now. It will be kind of sad when this activity ends.

I'm feeling better now. My piece of America survives. My energy to fight for it is revived. I have called my senators (no congressman at present as Jason Chaffetz has resigned) to demand a health care bill that improves health care in some way.

Mike Lee's wonderful staff have also called me on this issue and he is planning to vote against the current bill, so I only had to thank him. The senator and I are about as far apart politically as possible, but I am impressed with his integrity so far.

Orrin Hatch had a less friendly person answering the phone, but he may be receiving many calls like mine. He promised to pass along the message. Hatch is very personable and seems to have good intentions, but he had already been in the senate far too long when I started voting 30 years ago.

I'd love your recommendations for books and movies that will help me next time I feel down. I would especially love materials about women and about people who made important contributions without becoming rich and/or famous in the process.

 I'm trying hard not to be a summer soldier or sunshine patriot.


The green silk/cashmere wrap is finally truly finished and by the end of Friday will be up for sale in my shop.

I will also be listing my pictograph shawl. It is a mixture of knit and crochet in a heavy wool that makes it a good substitute for a fall or winter sweater.

I am concerned about cultural misappropriation. Do I have any Native American readers that can let me know if using 2000-year-old symbols is offensive? I know I don't care about the beliefs of my pagan European ancestors from that time period, but am sensitive about the early Christians, so I'd really love some insight.

In my current work, I am making good progress on the alpaca throw for my friend.

And I have started a mermaid-tail blanket for the preschool-aged niece of another friend.


  1. you folks cal that a parade? Where is the corn truck? Shoot, in Indiana we toss ears of corn at bystanders in the crowd as they go down the street. Now that is a sign of hearty people.

    OK, OK, it mostly just means the crowd is a lot more sparse. Only the spouses and skeet shooters go.

  2. That would be a huge hit here. At our altitude, no one has fresh corn until nearly August. Taffy and water balloons are a weak substitute.