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Independence Day 2021

—July 4, 2021

Butchers and bakers and candlestick makers.

Butchers often sold meat by the pound. In the 1940s their habit became packets of ten 1.6 ounce dogs. Mass marketing.

Bakers had the long-time habit of selling stuff—muffins and rolls, for example; and eventually, buns—by the dozen. Cheaper by the dozen.

So the butchers and bakers stuck us with packs of ten dogs and twelve buns—forever, or until they unite under a flag of common packaging.

You could buy six packs of dogs and five packs of buns and have a grand ol’ cookout. Don’t forget mustard, relish…and the works. And beer. Three cheers for the Fourth of July. You’ll be burping and farting ’neath Roman candles.

Tonight we’ll try ribs on the grill. We’ll free some baked beans from a little can, and maybe drum up some tater salad…or maybe not. Some neighborhood barbecue odors may drift in as the early pops, booms, and sparkles begin.

Later, the city’s grand fireworks go off at the mall 3.3 miles away, as pops, booms and sparkles all around give proof into the night that the Fourth is still there. (And again, tomorrow night, on the Fifth: “observed” as it’s called.)

The Fourth was there on a piece of paper so dated 245 years ago: a very old banner of a hoped-for glory. A Santa Fe New Mexican article described Old Glory as “a symbol of American unity that may no longer unite.” We may groan at flag-wavers as stars of strife. Many are red with anger, white with fury, blue in sadness.

Let us unite as hot-doggers of starry-eyed joy with our burps and farting buns giving proof to the night that the flag is still there. Three cheers. Relish the Fourth of July. Boom!

It takes a big dog to weigh a ton.