The missus and I arose early this past Independence Day with jovial thoughts of our well-planned itinerary for celebrating our country’s birthday. We finished our tennis match (well, a set at least) and then visited one of our six nearby Starbucks for some coffee. (Well, I had coffee. My lovely wife had her usual “fivebucks” foo-foo drink: Venti nonfat White Chocolate Latte – extra hot, no foam, and light whip.) After an hour or so of stimulating conversation, and achieving our caffeine fix for the day, we headed home to continue our day’s agenda which included swimming, sipping adult beverages poolside, having a cookout, and then savoring some homemade ice cream for dessert. I had already watched my DVDs of Mel Gibson’s The Patriot and We Were Soldiers the day before in order to get in to the patriotic spirit of the holiday, so everything was going just as planned. Then the telephone rang.
My brother began leaving a message on our answering machine (yes, we still have one of those) in his best “old man” voice although he wasn’t fooling anyone. My younger sibling lives in Colorado and rarely calls, so my wife hurriedly picked up the phone. After a minute or two of my wife and my brother exchanging pleasantries, I got on the line with my kinfolk that I had not seen or heard from since Christmas. I was relieved to learn there wasn’t an emergency. My bro, six years my junior, basically just wanted to say hello to his dear, dear brother. We chatted about everything under the sun: the weather, family, the upcoming Fantasy Football season, real sports, childhood memories, adulthood, TV evangelists, and our Christian faith.
We then discussed current events which of course led to a political discussion and ultimately a debate. It’s quite interesting to me how my brother and I seem to disagree about EVERYTHING politically. We were reared by the same parents, in the same house, yet a majority of our perceptions and philosophical preferences are entirely out of sync. There was no yelling, no childish hang-ups, and very limited hurt feelings during our cordial debate. (What a completely different, wonderful world we’d live in if only our elected officials had the good sense to conduct themselves in such a manner.) By conversation’s end, my little brother and I were still able to profess our love for one another when saying goodbye.
Come to find out I had been on the telephone for nine hours. That’s not a typo, folks. 9 hours! No wonder I was left with a blister on my ear and a severely sprained elbow. Not really. But my elbow was a bit stiff and my throat a little sore. This from a guy who as a teenager in love had no patience whatsoever when talking on the phone even while courting his future bride. A good deal of our spats back then were due to my lack of enthusiasm when conversing on the phone. I don’t know why it is, but I’d much rather write a letter, send a telegram, or even try my hand at sending up smoke signals than communicate via telephone.
But I digress. Sometime before my conversation had ended with my brother, the missus had kissed me goodnight. After hanging up I spied a note from her which read, “The 4th of July has been postponed until Thursday, July 5th.” Until that note, I had actually forgotten it was Independence Day (well, evening at this point). I immediately felt horrible about neglecting my wife and missing out on our well-planned day together. However, I was thrilled she was willing to give our much anticipated agenda another chance the very next day.
The missus did have to work during the morning of the 5th of July, but shortly after arriving back home she had our ancient boom box plugged in and properly positioned on our patio, our two outdoor umbrellas completely opened and situated for maximum shade, and a variety pack of craft beer on ice awaiting us. In no time flat we were able to resume our fun-filled agenda from the day before. My lovely wife and I spent the afternoon enjoying the pool, conversation, and each other. We sampled our chilled Leinenkugel’s Explorer Pack consisting of Orange Shandy, Summer Shandy (lemony), Cherry Blonde Lager, and Canoe Paddler (a spicy domestic style brew). We had our “cookout” which consisted of pan-fried hotdogs (my little sister refers to as “tubes of death”) and all the customary side dishes. Our grill was never turned on, so technically it might not have been a true cookout, but we did at least eat outdoors.
We took full advantage of our fabulous one hundred and fifteen degree weather. That’s not a typo, folks. 115°! But it is a dry heat. Later on, we savored a bowl or two (or in my case, three) of delectable homemade ice cream – finally completing our patriotic celebration. At some point during the day’s festivities the telephone rang. My wife and I instantaneously in unison looked at one another, but then we quickly went about our business. There was no way we were going to miss out on the 5th of July.