Terra Sigillata

Block party

I just walked outside my little dead-end neighborhood of 17 or so houses, almost exactly the number of my childhood neighborhood in northern New Jersey.

The houses and lots are a little bigger since money goes further in North Carolina. And yeah, sure, a state professor’s salary is a bit better than that of a printing press mechanic or registered nurse in the 1970s.

But there is a huge hole in my 4th of July experience.

There are no kids riding on their bicycles with American flags taped to their handle bars, ever the risk of poking out one’s eye – something that could probably get a parent in trouble with child protective services these days.

There are no kegs of root beer for the kids and Schaefer or Rheingold for the adults. Or kids pouring Rheingold into their root beer to hide their subversive behavior that the parents knew about anyway – stuff that would definitely get a parent in trouble with child protective services these days.

No Dads uncarting the huge blocks of ice from someone’s beat-up pickup truck to cool the beer and soda.

No one setting up the volleyball net in “The Court” – a place that we’d call a “cul-de-sac” today.

No Moms carrying huge bowls of potato salad and cole slaw up the street.

No Moms yelling, “What the hell’s the matter with you!?!,” at their kid – or someone else’s kid – who just set off a pack of firecrackers at 9 am.

There is no smell of hot dogs and hamburgers grilling or kielbasa and corn-on-the-cob boiling.

Or my Dad’s amazingly kick-ass Manhattan-style clam chowder, a recipe learned from my grandfather.

My other grandparents won’t be picking me up later to take the subway to the Bronx to go see my first major league baseball game: the Yankees playing the Washington Senators at the old, original, unrenovated Yankee Stadium.

My sister is not dressed up as The Statue of Liberty.

Comments

  1. #1 Comrade PhysioProf
    July 4, 2010

    Or my Dad’s amazingly kick-ass Manhattan-style clam chowder, a recipe learned from my grandfather.

    If you’ve got the recipe, can you e-mail it to me?

  2. #2 Chemgeek
    July 4, 2010

    Nearly all of these things will be happening at my house today. I’ll have a keg of cream soda for the kids, two kegs of homebrewed beer for the adults. Brats, kraut and German potato salad. The children will outnumber the adults and will run around with limitless energy.

    Bottom line, memories will be made. A tradition will be reinforced today. This is the celebration of our Independence.

  3. #3 Miss Cellania
    July 4, 2010

    That’s pretty much what is happening in my neighborhood as well.

  4. #4 Abel Pharmboy
    July 4, 2010

    CPP, you’re not going to believe this but I never learned how to make it. It was like a national security thing where I only could cut the potatoes or clams but not see the whole process. I’ll have to call my sister or my uncles.

  5. #5 Comrade PhysioProf
    July 4, 2010

    Dude, you gotta get me that recipe!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. #6 Here is the recipe
    July 4, 2010

    The love is in the link.

  7. #7 pharmsis
    July 4, 2010

    re: clam chowder…I’m sorry, there is no recipe. Steam some clams; chop some carrots, potatoes and celery; add water, tomato soup and those spices that used to sit above the stove in the basement. Have a beer. Don’t let the soup reach a boil otherwise you have to start all over again. That’s how I remember it.

  8. #8 k8
    July 6, 2010

    This is why we party at Cowgirl’s house. We do all of the above at her farm, where Child protective services can’t find us. mWhahahaha!

  9. #9 BikeMonkey
    July 6, 2010

    We do all kinds of stuff like this in my neighborhood. Thanks in large part to the heroic organizational skills of my spouse.

    It is indeed part of making for a real 4th celebration. Start plotting your shenanigans for next year and you may be surprised to find that if you build it, they will come.

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