Thursday, July 06, 2006

My first Fourth of July at home

It was Marc Clifton[^] who once remarked that it takes up to three years to feel at home. I've been here three and a half years and it finally feels like home.

It never took that long in the past but then again, that was moving from one suburb of Melbourne to another; the radio stations were the same as were the newspapers, the accents didn't change and of course one drove on the correct side of the road.

The move to Phoenix took a lot longer to get used to and if you read back over my ravings for the last nearly two years you'll see that my attitude to Phoenix has changed for the good.

Thus tonight to my first Fourth of July actually spent in Phoenix. Previous years living in the US I was either in Boston, The Philippines or Flagstaff.

We had quite a large choice of places to go see fireworks; Tempe Town Lake, Chandler, Rawhide are the ones I remember in addition to the one we chose, Fabulous Phoenix 4th[^] at Steele Indian School Park.

A well managed event and if we'd bothered to search for the website before the event rather than after we'd have saved ourselves even the minimal grief we had in finding a parking spot.

Thus to wandering around in the dusk looking first for food, for who could attend a Fourth of July without extra sustenance! We settled for a cup of ribs each. I kid you not, they were served in the kind of polystyrene cup usually used for hot coffee. Good ribs though and I confess I had to eat them in the manner adopted by the locals; a knife and fork were hardly practical!

Food taken care of for the nonce we then sought the best place to view the fireworks. We had no idea where they'd be launched but happy inspiration and the proximity of the Phoenix Fire Department truck led us to ask them; if they didn't know where the fireworks would be then no one would.

As luck would have it we were in just about the perfect location to view them, right beside the flagpole. This ain't yo mamma's flagpole either, no sir! Biggest flagpole I've ever seen and a flag on top that looks big enough to cover a car park! It even manages to dwarf the flags one sees[^] flying over used car dealerships!

Came the big moment and almost all lights were doused throughout the park. Not the four large floodlights illuminating the flag; to douse those whilst the flag was flying at night would be a breach of etiquette[^] and, after all, the entire occasion was a celebration of that very flag!

Then half an hour of fireworks with musical accompaniement. Should I admit a moment of chill down the spine at the climax of 'The Star Spangled Banner?'. Yes, I should!

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