Monday, June 22, 2009

Happy Fourth of July!

Last night I spent about three hours as a docent in Chicago's Millennium Park, yakking with folks who stopped by Ben Van Berkel's Burnham pavilion. It was everything American . . . folks of all ethnicities strolling about, cameras clicking away, delighted children screaming and screaming and screaming. I left before the Big Fireworks Display and took the Red Line home, which I usually don't do but the streets were blocked off and the buses weren't running and, besides, it's fun on occasion to rocket through the dark, underneath the city, thinking how great it is to be almost 60 and still alive and able to navigate a big city's transit system.

Yeah, I thought about being alive. And I thought about not being alive. For Farah Fawcett's dead, even though The Poster will never die. And Karl Malden is gone, who gave one right in the jaw to Marlon Brando down at Johnny Friendly's. Michael Jackson, too, along with the sequined glove and white socks and maybe even the notion that we can save the world if we sing a tune together. Time even took Sky Sunlight Saxson, the long ago bass player for The Seeds. Time has been pushin' just a little too hard.

You feel that on these annual holidays . . . days when you are allowed to think back over the years like old grams remembering all the Independence Days past until the year she couldn't make the potato salad for the big gathering and independence was no longer just a glorious notion, but a real part of life that she realized she was losing. And that's America, too.

So, let's celebrate the heck out of the day because the roses are there to be gathered and rough winds do shake the darling buds of May and Father MacKenzies's socks will always be holy. It's what we have. It's what we do. It's who we are.