Usually, I avoid Independence Day. One of my favorite celebrations involved inviting people over, ordering pizza, and sitting in front of the AC watching Lolita and Sweet Sweetback's Baaaaadass Song. Partway through, we heard the tinkling of the bell of the paleta-wallah, and ran down the stairs to catch him and buy ice cream.
Last year I spent the day at the Yorktown Mall with Amma, the hugging saint.
Once, during the Reagan years, The Big Ex and I spent the Independence Day weekend with friends in Door County. On the way home, we burned an American flag in a parking lot (That would have been the year Edwin Meese and his ilk wanted to outlaw flag-burning. We were of the mind that it would be a first step towards de facto fascism).
Until yesterday, the most "American" thing I've done on the Fourth was to attend an outdoor John Cougar concert in Indianapolis. It was not my idea. Everyone in the audience stood up the whole time and had blond hair... except for me.
But yesterday may have matched it.
Bindi, the Colonel and I headed to Wrigley Field to see the Cubs play the Cincinnati Reds.
Thanks to LVH we had great, free season tickets - right along the third base line. In the front row. In the sun. We could spit on the field, but chose not to.
We were also within spitting distance of left fielder Alfonso Soriano (but chose not to). The kids in our section kept shouting at him to throw us a ball. "He won't do it," Bindi told me. "He only throws to that section," to our left. Sure enough, he always gave it to them - which caused the kids to yell, "You suck, Soriano!" It seemed a bit much, but perhaps the heat was getting to them, too.
The Colonel paid attention to the game. Bindi did both; watched the game and chatted with me. We all complained about the heat and marveled that it now costs $6.75 for a beer. Bindi noticed that the players were wearing white hats for Independence Day (instead of the usual Cubs blue).
I kept getting distracted by things like Billy Williams' retired jersey, flying above. He was my favorite player growing up, when I used to while away the time watching Cubs games in bars (which is a whole 'nother story). I loved the number 26 - and the fact that his name was William Williams. Who would name their kid that?
So I kept getting distracted and missing the exciting bits - which was tough luck for me. Wrigley Field is a beautiful, historic ballpark with no Jumbotron, which means you have to actually watch the game. There are no instant replays. Just a guy in the most manual, analog scoreboard there is - keeping track of the stats by hand. You can actually see him change the score (only not in this picture). I like to tell people that he lives in there.
I also kept watching the relief pitchers warm up, since they were so close to us. But apparently they did not warm up enough.
The game had been going at a good clip - until the top of the Seventh Inning. We were sweating bullets and waiting for the inning to end, so we could sing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" with the rest of the crowd, and make our exit. Sitting in the direct midday sun for three hours can be hell for pitta dosha.
But the inning went on and on, as the Reds continued to score and score and score - into the double digits.
Finally, we just gave up and left.
Bindi said she heard that people booed all the way through the song. We never did find out who led it.
Nonetheless, a good time was had by all.
Thank you, LVH!
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INDEPENDENCE DAY, PART DEUX
Later I drove out to my nephew's BBQ in Wondertucky, where I parked behind a car with this bumper sticker:
Turns out the driver belonged to another BBQ.
But there's that censorship thing again....
I guess some things never change.