Monday, July 14, 2008

July! #2

One of the ways I make my job my own is to post a quote every month. Then I make business card size copies for my clients to take from my desk. Some of them come in to get "this month's" quote. On July 1 I was driving to work thinking that I needed to find a new quote. "Should I look for a patriotic quote, or a summertime quote?" I started thinking about what I loved about July and when I got to work I typed up my little poem!

JULY

July
Freedom!
America's anthems on patriot lips,
Explosions of light in the sky.
Firecracker pops fill the air,
Pursuing the right of happiness!

July
Beach Days!
Riding waves to the shore,
Digging sand crabs with shells,
Castles created by little hands,
Relaxing in the summer sun!

July
Barbecue!
Licking mustard off lips,
Big bites of chilled watermelon,
Dipping toes in the kiddy pool,
Warm summer nights!

July!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

July!

I love July, mostly because of 4th of July. Patriotic feelings come so strongly from my childhood. Every American holiday my Dad would wake all of us up .....never mind I will post a story my sister, Lynette, and I co-wrote about it.

The 4th of July

Hurrah, Hurrah for the 4th of July! Mommy stood at the door of the girls bedroom with blonde haired Karen on her hip. Another rousing “Hurrah!” alerted the girls that it was time to rally.
Leslie groaned. “Do we have to do this at our new house? These people don’t know us. Can’t we just leave it that way?” Leslie loved the 4th of July as much as anyone but it was one time she just wished her family was not quite so open in their patriotism. She didn’t have much time to think about it though because Daddy was at the bedroom door with his shiny, bright smile urging them to hurry.
“C’mon girls let’s not waste this beautiful morning!”
Wishing she at least had time to take the curlers out of her hair and put on her new red, white, and blue summer dress Leslie stumbled out of bed and slid her feet into her slippers. “Daddy, can’t we just dressed first?” she mumbled.
Lynette jumped out of bed with unusual energy. She was the one who typically fought getting up. Not today! It was 4th of July and great things were in store. Daddy and Mommy made sure this holiday was almost as exciting as Christmas. Knowing what came first Lynette was ready to go. It didn’t matter that her hair had flattened pony tails from sleeping on them, and that her pj tops didn’t match the bottoms with holes in the knees. Jumping up and down she encouraged Leslie to hurry, “Leslie, we’re not going to a party. Remember we’re the oldest we have to be in front!”
Leslie groaned again. Since she was the oldest she would be the very first out of the door. Lynette would get to carry the flag right behind her. Daddy made the decision last night. “Yep Lynette I think you’re tall enough to keep it off the ground this year. Lynette stood even taller just to prove her Dad‘s point
Leslie seemed to shrink as she thought, “Did he have to rub it in?” She continued to contemplate the unfairness of it all. “How could God possibly have made such a mistake? I’m the oldest so I’m supposed to be the tallest.” Unfortunately as much as she tried to stretch herself, Lynette passed her up. She had grown two more inches just since they got out of school for summer vacation. Leslie wondered, “Could there possibly be a more awkward situation than to have your little sister taller than you?”
Lynette jolted her from her uncomfortable trance with a rousing “Hurrah, hurrah for the 4th of July! Leslie! Hurry up!”
Dragging her slippered feet Leslie headed for the front door. Daddy and Mommy were there already. Mommy gave Susan a whistle showing her how to put her little fingers over the holes while she blew. Karen at two years old seemed confused at all the activity until Daddy handed her a pot and showed her what a great sound it would make when hit with a spoon.
“Okay, is the Bliss Band ready to go?” Daddy bellowed joyfully.
“Leslie you go first with your triangle. Lynette, be careful of the flag. Keep the pole on your hip and hold it strong with both hands. Hold it high so the flag doesn’t even touch the ground.” Lynette stood taller and took a firm grip on the flag’s pole. This was the first time she ever got to carry the flag, and she knew it was an honor. “
Susie blow that whistle good now. Turn the pan over Karen. Bang it hard. Mommy, you’re next, what instrument are you going to play?“ They all laughed as she took one of Daddy’s black combs out of her apron pocket and wrapped it with wax paper. Mommy smiled as she put the comb to her lips and hummed against it making the musical vibration sound a bit like a kazoo. “Fantastic!“ Daddy declared “Okay, everyone ready? . Hup, two, three, four. PAA-RRUMP, PAA-RRRUMP, “ Daddy rolled his ‘r’s trying to make the sound of a drum roll. They all marched in place for a while just inside the front door, then Daddy opened the door with a flourish, never losing a beat, and still marching in place.
Leslie moved slowly out the door. She stopped and looked up the block, then down the block to see if anyone was outside. Her only hope was that 8:00 on a holiday morning was too early for most of the neighbors.
The flag’s pole tapped Leslie on the shoulder reminding her she couldn’t stop this parade even if she wanted to. Lynette added to the urgency whispering, “Go Leslie, go. Susan’s running into me.” Leslie hesitantly marched ahead, with the family following in a high stepping cadence.
Daddy was still PA-Rrrumping, and in his right hand, appearing as if by magic, he held Leslie’s baton from her dance class. Trying to twirl it like a drum major he marched to the front of the line. When he stood before them he bellowed, “Forward, HARCH!” With a broad wave of his hand started singing loudly “Yankee Doodle went to town, A riding on a pony, “ The whole family joined in singing at the top of their lungs, while making as much noise as they could with their rag tag band instruments.
Leslie tried to daintily hit the triangle with a spoon as it swung crazily back and forth as she marched behind her father. She was still concerned about the neighbors seeing the family’s crazy antics, but her enjoyment of the tradition was winning out.
Following close behind, Lynette smiled broadly hoping her friends would come out and see the parade. In her mind, she and her family were dressed in magnificent band uniforms and played just as grandly as any band on earth. With that thought she bellowed even louder “Yankee Doodle keep it up, Yankee Doodle Dandy…“ Behind her she could hear Susan occasionally try to blow the tin whistle Daddy brought from one of his business trips. Mostly Susan was only able to make whooshing sounds before giving up to sing along with her family. The sounds Susan did manage to whistle were drowned out by Karen’s repeated thumps on the pan. Thump, clack, thunk. Karen liked the noise and she was making a lot of it. Mommy hummed “Yankee Doodle” into her waxed paper comb kazoo beaming with pride as she marched along with her little ones and giggling at her husband’s antics.
They marched down the front walk and at the corner of the grass where it met the sidewalk Daddy called out, “Right, Harch!” and made a sharp turn onto the sidewalk. As each daughter reached the same spot on the concrete the also made a quick right turn. Karen almost fell over her own little feet but caught herself just in time. Mommy humming along at the back of the parade quickly stepped over the corner of the grass onto the concrete. When he reached the driveway Daddy again called out “Right, Harch!” and the Bliss parade followed their father up the driveway to the corner of the house where Daddy had nailed up the small flag holder.
Marching in place he waited for each family member to line up in front of the garage. Being very good followers they each took their lead from their father as he marched in place facing them. “Company Halt.” he called and the all stopped marching, except for little Karen whose feet needed a couple seconds to catch up.
All paused for a moment and then lifting his knees high Daddy took one step forward and with a precise military step-turn to the left, he marched forward until he was directly in front of Lynette and the flag she bore proudly. He saluted, then took the flag from her hands. Lynette grinned with pride as she carefully gave up the treasured emblem reversing his steps he stopped at the corner of the garage. Reaching high, Dad placed the flag into it’s honored position.
He turned to his family and said purposefully. “Okay, ready. Repeat after me.” His voice grew soft, yet strong. Leslie could see in her father’s eyes as he said the words that this was more important than a family tradition. Out of the corner of her eye she saw several of her friends gathering with their parents on their lawns, but it didn’t matter anymore. What mattered was this flag, and this pledge she was saying with her family.
“I pledge allegiance to the flag
of the United States of America,
and to the republic for which it stands,
one nation under God, indivisible,
with liberty and justice for all.”
Leslie noticed Mommy wipe a tear from her eye, and Daddy got a little choked up when they said the part about ‘one Nation under God’. There was no doubt about the importance of this moment and Leslie was no longer embarrassed, she was proud. She noticed Lynette was standing straight and tall as a soldier with her hand over her heart. The girls all copied, and respected, the honor their parents gave the flag and the Pledge of Allegiance.
It didn’t matter if the whole neighborhood watched because they were having a moment. One moment that would be rolled with many moments where the Bliss parents would pass on the importance of patriotism to their little family. Leslie almost felt like she needed to include “Amen” at the end of the pledge, but instead she just slowly moved her hand and placed it quietly next to her side.
High and off key, Lynette started singing the Star Spangled Banner, “O say can you see,” Daddy stopped her and then signaled them to all start again, this time in a lower key, “O say can you see, by the dawns early light.“
As they sang Leslie was so proud to see that more and more neighbors gathered. The chorus rose from all directions in the neighborhood as everyone joined in singing the National Anthem with the patriotic Bliss Family.


Just one of the reasons I love July!