I'm listening to the traffic that follows the 4th of July spectacular here - perhaps you saw my across the river neighbors on the television? - and am glad to have spent this fourth here, at Grandmother's house. I know I've done (more than) my share of complaining about the fact that I am still here (66 days and counting), but that's only because I long for home. My bed, my things, my complete ability to not get dressed for 37 days in a row if I so choose home. The company here is splendid, overall, though, and I'll admit I may just have been in the place I needed to be tonight.
Because, since I've been sick, the 4th of July was something I did with Nana. With the rest of my family moving off to one rooftop or another to try to catch the best view of the fireworks, Nana and I would watch the Pops, mock the line dancers who couldn't hold the beat (could FIND the beat), and shake our heads at the fact that people needed karaoke words for Yankee Doodle Dandy. She would walk away in disgust as acts like Aerosmith "paraded around like pansies" or Big & Rich "screwed up even the Star Spangled Banner". I would tune her out or in, accordingly, waiting till she came back from her latest cigarette to tell her about the doofus with a really tall Uncle Sam hat. And she'd be settled in with her last hot cup of tea by the time the fireworks started, and she - who didn't really understand the point of special effects in movies or anything like that - would be captivated, would gasp and point out her favorites like any member of the crowd. It was something she didn't really enjoy in person ("too much smoke, people & bother," she'd say), but on TV, it made her face light up. It came back to me, all in a wave tonight, that she's not just at home watching without me, that I won't get to watch them with her again. And so, the tears then, and now, as I sit listening to the honking that she would've cursed, because it's still hard to know that.
Watching tonight with Grandmother & UJ was different - UJ was pissed at the people in the street who let their dog run loose, for one thing and so it was a bit tenser than usual - but it was good. It was happy. Grandmother didn't let the fact that she's not a singer stop her from singing along to the patriotic music (like I do), and she appreciated each extra sparkle and twinkle that the fireworks could provide, each time a little painted face came up on the big screen. It was good for me, and I think, good for them (I guess they don't usually watch: which - sacrilege!) I heard the stories of when they used to go to the fireworks, of when Arthur Fiedlder was leading the Pops, of the time my eldest cousin pouted all the way back to the car (because my uncle made them leave early to beat the traffic - I don't get that either).
I miss Nana - all the time, every day - but today was a little bit easier because I was here.
But here's a movie I introduced my Revolutionary-War-Lovin', 5th-Grade-Teaching Nana too, and a song, just for her.