Monday, July 07, 2008

A Hometown 4th

I love Independence Day. I especially love it in my hometown of Catonsville, MD. This is a suburban town, right on the edge of Baltimore Maryland, but it is like an oasis of Americana to me. It looks the same as when I lived there 25 years ago, it is full of older homes and mature trees, with a church on almost every block, people who have lived there forever, and a strong sense of place. We go to my parents' home every year to barbecue, watch the parade and enjoy the fireworks. The traditions have changed a little in all these years, but mostly it is a laid back day of long walks, the warmth of a summer afternoon and the only time that I feel comfortable in a crowd.
Here is the day through my eyes:
My parents fly this flag all year round. We walk two blocks from their house to the main street where folks have set their chairs out days before to save a spot for watching the Parade.
There are all the usual parade-y elements: Banners, Fire Trucks, Marching Bands, Whole Wagons Full of Accordion Players (!), Dogs in Trucks Wearing Bandanas, Old Soldiers, Bagpipes, and Foam Liberty Crowns Advertising For Local Businesses (you can see the Evan scored big in this area).

In the evening, we walk, with about 100,000 other people, down to the high school for the fireworks. This year, because of the threat of rain, it was a much smaller crowd, but it was still friendly, with everyone wishing everyone else a "Happy Fourth!" A newer tradition is the hundreds of glow necklaces at the fireworks, along with the sparklers and other small fireworks that people play with while waiting for the big fireworks to start. This year I forgot to get mine from the dollar store so we shelled out the 2 bucks each and hoped that the hawkers really needed the money. It was worth the fun the kids had with them.

Happy Birthday America!


  1. Looks like a great time. Love the pictures. My fave... the flag at the end.

  2. What a very fun day you had. I loved the picture of the back of Evan's head with all the hats. How great.

  3. I want to go there someday - that sounds AWESOME!!

  4. Ha! That is funny about the Hawkers. It's so true. I remember wanting those SO bad when I was a kid, but never getting them because they were too expensive. Silly. Looks like a great 4th!

  5. I am often much more homesick at the 4th of July than I am at Christmas. You did a beautiful job of capturing the whole day.

  6. fun times. we were wishing we had some of those glow things for those last 30 minutes before the show started! I'll have to check out the dollor store next time....


Thank you for sharing your insights!