You have to be agile to celebrate the Fourth of July in Northern Wisconsin, able to dodge water balloons and flying cheese sticks and willing to scramble out of the way when children dive for all the candy and beachballs tossed their way.
We know this because we were lucky enough to attend two Fourth of July Parades yesterday, one in Bonduel and the other Gillett, with two nice cool-off dips in the Oconto River after and in between.
God Bless America.
I saw a man stand respectfully at attention, hand over heart, as members of the U.S. military passed by during the 11 a.m. Bonduel parade. Then I saw the same man gleefully scooping up candy, yanking his fist up and down to encourage truck drivers to blast their horns, and daring the water gun-toting float riders to blast him.
Independence Day in God’s Country is a raucous good time.
“Is that?” I asked my husband Vince as we watched a deer-antler decorated float pass by in Gillett. “Is that venison sausage?”
It takes some skill to hurl a full-sized package of sausage sticks from a moving float and it takes even more to bare-hand catch it. They’ve got game up here.
They’ve also got a contagious joy, a work-hard, play-hard attitude and a sense of gratitude for the opportunity to do both. Many of the participating tractors chugged right from the parade route back to the fields that surround it, same with all the emergency response vehicles and, I imagine, many of the parade-goers.
Both cities continued their celebration long into the night with impressive fireworks displays.
How wonderful to live in a country that celebrates its birthday with such unabashed joy!
Happy birthday, America. May this year be one of your best.