Tuesday, July 05, 2011

July 4th

I love a good July 4th. Ours, yesterday, was pretty perfect: a postcard of what it's like to live in America.

I got to do some painting for the first time in two months. It's a small image of our back yard. Exciting? Full of meaning? Deep and philosophical? Nope. My skills are pretty rusty at the moment, so this was just a simple exercise in putting paint on canvas again. I love our little back yard: our deck, the table and chairs, the plants, grass, trees, and all the little things that Janis has done to spruce it up. So I thought it would be fun to work from life, what artists call alla prima. Shortly after I got the thing blocked in, though, a thunderstorm moved in and made working in the backyard impossible. So I relocated into the garage and continued. After about two or three hours, the painting was about 60% completed. I'll try to finish it up this afternoon.

Last night, we went with our neighbors to the Asheville Tourists baseball game. What can be more American than baseball, foot-long brats, and locally-brewed beer? I really like going to minor-league games. They're fun, without the expense, stress, and crowds of a major-league outing. Ten bucks buys you a great seat. The staff puts on silly games between innings like three-legged races and "Jeopardy"-like questions with "gimme" answers, with prizes such as $10 off your next oil change at the local Kia dealer. Little kids are welcome, and who cares if they're not paying any attention to the game? Most adults aren't, either. They're probably people-watching, or drinking copious amounts of the locally-brewed beer, or yakking with their friends.

This being the Fourth, there were some extra features. The Asheville-Buncombe Community Christian Ministry (ABCCM) was the night's sponsor. ABCCM works with homeless people, particularly veterans. A few years ago, ABCCM bought and refurbished a defunct motel into a home for vets. They house and help the vets get back on their feet and re-integrated into the community. Last year, they helped 300 go from jobless and homeless to employed and living on their own. A commendable group. So, as the night's sponsor, ABCCM got to put out their message several times and arranged for some very nice ceremonies honoring vets.

Right in front of us were an old couple, probably in their 80's. She was in a wheelchair and he could barely stand, let alone walk. But during the National Anthem, they both stood up. They were leaning on their chairs and leaning on each other, but by God, they stood up for the National Anthem. How great is that?

July 4th is important to us for another reason. It's Soozee and Indy's birthday. Our two little dogs turned 8 years old yesterday. So I visited a certain booth at the stadium and during the game the announcer wished the twins a very happy birthday. Very cool!

It's an Asheville Tourists tradition to have a game on July 4th, followed by fireworks. And they put on a pretty good show. Unfortunately, the Tourists got beat, 7-3, but they played their hearts out. The fireworks after the game brought out the ooh's and aaah's and a big round of applause at the end. We got out of the stadium and on the road with no fuss at all and home to Soozee and Indy, where we had to throw their balls around for about an hour before they would settle down. But hey, it was their birthday, so they deserved it.

All in all, pretty perfect. Hope you had an equally fine holiday!

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