Ah, yes! July Forth in the Heartland...I guess wherever you live in America, you live in the Heartand, but here in Tennessee we even have a TV show that proves this is it...the one true "Heartland".
Well, we could argue that, but everybody knows I don't like to argue...
Yesterday was July 4, 2006 on the bank of the Clinch and Emory and Tennessee River in Kingston. I think it's actually the Clinch River that lies under Watts Bar Lake in Kingston but it's hard to tell. The Emory river is tiny compared to the Obed river which it flows into, and the Clinch is smaller than the Emory, but somehow, Emory trumped Obed and Clinch trumped Emory, and they all come together at Southwest Point with the Tennessee River which trumps everything and heads toward Georgia and Alabama.
Anyway, there we were on the Left Bank of the River in Kingston having a fine old Independence Day celebration. Now as everybody knows, people around here are funny with their money when it comes to local charity. We will send hundreds of thousands off to Memphis but we don't do nearly as much for our own, unless you count Walmart. We have this thing called Operation Reach where all the cops in the county stand around at traffic lights and hold a bucket up to your car window into which you put money for poor kids to spend at Walmart for Christmas. Everybody tries not to look the cops in the eye if the light stays green, but let it turn yellow and you're toast. Try to carry a bunch of ones around with you come December in Roane County so's you don't get popped for a fiver. More on this next Winter.
(I'm kidding, of course...really!)
But if fireworks are involved? Those same roadblocks collect bucket loads of cash. Me? I threw a ten in the bucket...Smiled at the same time...We're gonna blow some stuff up on the lake.
On July 4th, Roane County sounds and looks like a ceasefire in Bagdhad .
On the left bank of the lake, at a place called the gravel pit, we have a big county party with drag boat races and barbecue, and wife beater shirts and halter tops that should never be worn by the people who are wearing them. All the candidates come out and pester the crowd. One candidate even had a country music karaoke singer going at his rv...kept trying to sing to the passers by but they mostly wouldn't look at him.
Our local writer had a booth set up to sell his tell all book about the local Judge and DA and Sheriff. It was located directly across the aisle from the booths of the local DA and the sheriff.
The Judge is awaiting sentencing and isn't running for reelection, though I'm not sure why not. he's backing several candidates, which I don't understand. if the crooked judge comes out for a candidate, doesn't that look bad to you? Seems like it would be the kiss of death for folks who are tired of the sleaze in local politics.
But back to the other fireworks.
We blow things up on July 4th to celebrate our Declaration of Independence and eventual victory over the British back in '77...1777, that is or somewhere in there. it was a long tme ago and I forget. See, the Brits had short fuses back then. I don't mean bad tempers...I mean short fuses. We got a whole National Anthem pointing that out. The Brit Navy was firing at us with explosive cannon balls and, as it turns out, the fuses were too short for the bombs to reach the target, ergo, the famous "bombs bursting in air" phrase... Saved our National rear end, those short fuses did. That banner would never have gallantly waved "by the dawn's early light" if the Brits had switched to metric and got the damned fuse length right. But it inspired an epic poem by Frankie Key which when sung at a small town sporting event can seemingly last for sixteen minutes even if we only have to listen to the first verse. Curse you, Whitney Houston! The damned thing is long enough without all that wurbuling and the extra notes thrown in. Mercifully, we don't have to hear the other three verses any more.
My fuse is much to short to stand that.
Peace and Freedom,
just in case you care...here's a bit on the other verses of the National Anthem, but just in case any of you are in charge of the music program at the highschool...Don't you dare get any ideas.