Thursday, June 28, 2007

Drums, horn, the opening bars to “Fanfare for the Common Man” sound. I stand at our bookshelves, and try to decide what to read to such music. I stand as straight as can be, and laugh when I find myself ready to put hand to heart. Then I remember - it is nearly July. Already, the Ambassador’s invitation to a July 4th reception hangs on our refrigerator, reminding me it is midsummer.

The music nudges memories of other 4ths too - watching fireworks over the Capitol from the banks of the Potomac; picnics on my grandparents’ farm surrounded by hundreds of relatives and family friends; a pig picking along the North Edisto, where food came second to the freedom of running wild with cousins, lighting sparklers, swinging from ropes into the cold black river; later, playing Barber and Copland to audiences melting in the heat of south Georgia, still gracious enough to thank us for the music.

Now, I’m always thankful it isn’t as hot here as it is in the South this time of year, but I miss the celebration. We celebrate the 4th mostly by explaining its significance to our friends. This 4th we’ll be in the middle of coming back from one trip before heading off to another one. We don’t have any plans (the Embassy party is this week to avoid the Czech holidays) but tonight as the music plays, I decide that I’ll celebrate by listening to all the Copland and Barber in my collection; I’ll gather up Gershwin and Charles Ives, John Cage and George Crumb, and hit play.


Anonymous said...

You left out the piping through the neighborhood as a Colonial days musical group. (Perhaps intentionally?) ;)

Julia said...

I'll never forget our '76 parade through the neighborhood, but I remember the fireworks from that 4th even more!

Anonymous said...

Do you remember the fact that 3 or was it four lanes of traffic were parked on the highway next to the Pentagon so that we could watch the fireworks.

morskyjezek said...

Cage and Crumb aren't the first Americans who spring to mind when I think of 4th of July music, but I love listening to some of their pieces. I gather their selections were not among the favorites of the band at the Ambassador's (judging by last years music at least), unless you staged an impromptu Musicircus or 4'33". :-)

Glad to see you're posting again! Happy summer in Prague - I hear there's a drought.

Julia said...

Cage isn't soo very 4th of July like but I think of him as summer too because we played Cage pieces during camp one year. It's all about association!

The US Embassy didn't serve American music with their hamburgers, oddly enough. Everytime I turned around they were playing something French. Subversives you know ;-).