Holiday as varied as America itself
Adriana Stout, age 8, pulled a three-inch perch from West Lake Thursday noon-ish, her fifth of the day. Sister Erika, age 5, hunkered lake-side and didn’t seem especially interested in catching anything more than sunbeams and a glimpse of the mythic 40-pound carp lurking somewhere in the water.
“We have the grandbabies today,” confided grandma Donna Stout, “and they just love going fishing.”
So, with grandpa Tom seated in a camp chair nearby, rod perched casually on knee, the family fished. And it was a good day in America.
It was America’s birthday, the Fourth of July, a fine day to consider the passing panoply of life in this country. There is no definitive answer to it, no one thing that people do on Independence Day. It’s all part of the parade, a piece of the puzzle, and on the Fourth of July it seemed that every action, every scene, said “America.” It’s strange. It’s surprising. It’s lovely.
There was the fishing Stouts, joined on the lake’s bank by Lee Hufman. A while back, he caught a 26-inch trout there, and he’s having it mounted.
Elsewhere, near the intersection of 28 Road and North Avenue, Efren Critchfield stood on the sidewalk holding a fluorescent green poster board declaring “Chihuahua puppies 4 sale.” Alexis Critchfield sat on a bench nearby, holding the actual puppies, two sandy brown sweethearts from a litter of three.
They were $200 each. The Critchfields were aiming to make rent.
Farther down the road, a woman in cut-offs and a stars and stripes bandanna around her head. A man in a wheelchair at a bus stop, wearing a red shirt and blue shorts. Three valiant red, white and blue balloons tied to a pile of tiles outside, appropriately, A World of Tile.
There were two men on E 1/2 Road, removing a stump from a front yard with a tractor. There was the pick-up with its tailgate down, revealing an obvious moving day in the table, bookcase, bed frame and taxidermy armadillo.
There was Dillon Crabtree, a bold age 7, riding the BMX bike he’d spray-painted gold around the ramps at Long Family Memorial Park. Nearby, cousins Zoe Anway and Natalia Arnold took pictures of their toes with a cell phone in a pink, zebra-print case.
There were the clerks at work at Maverick on Patterson Road, the cyclists on Broadway, the clusters of boys jumping the gun, daylight-wise, with the cheap fireworks. There were the growing numbers of people at Lincoln Park, with their awnings and coolers and camp chairs, making an afternoon and evening of it until the fireworks.
It could be hard to make sense of it all, and there’s no possible definition, no single narrative but this: In this kaleidoscope of experience, this spinning pinwheel of life in this sprawling, sometimes messy country, it was a good day in America.