An Olde-Timey Fourth of July

How Olde-Timey you ask?

So Olde-Timey that the guy dressed up as Uncle Sam was about the youngest person among the 200-odd attendees at the Democrats Abroad Annual Fourth of July Party in San Miguel.

Uncle Sam’s younger brother?

So Olde-Timey that the large American flag hanging on the outdoor pavilion where this leisurely paced party took place had only forty-eight stars—yep, the flag that was retired sometime during the Eisenhower administration in favor of the present fifty-star model—a detail none of the attendees seemed to notice.

I wasn’t expecting hip-hop for background music—I wouldn’t understand the lyrics or shake my booty to that racket—but the 1960s protest songs of Joan Baez vintage that played during the event made my booty feel particularly arthritic. A favorite of mine, circa high school or college, Baez today is completely gray as it befits a 73-year-old music veteran who still fills auditoriums with chubby baby boomers.

I couldn’t even make out the words coming from the AARP combo trying to serenade us. Was it distortion in the sound system or my tinnitus acting up?

The biggest buzz of the party came when people lined up to get food, a spartan offering of hamburgers or hot dogs accompanied by cole slaw and potato salad.

Really old Old Glory

Stew’s one-line review of the food was, “I had no idea cole slaw and potato salad could be this tasteless.”

Still, some folks, including Stew, also clamored insistently—practically pounding on the table—”Where’s the cake?” as if that was the climax of a memorable gathering, which indeed may have been the case.

One of the highlights of the celebration, though—seriously speaking now—were some of the amazingly dolled-up women, none of them spring chicks but looking smashing nonetheless. Wish older men could reinvent their faces and hair half as successfully as these babes.

Finally someone bravely grabbed the microphone and tried to arouse the political passions of the crowd, the longest of long-shots given the ideological rigor mortis that grips both national parties today. He even exhorted the crowd to get out and vote in November so that Democrats could retain their majority in the U.S. Senate. Yea! The reaction to that iffy proposition was a low-decibel groan.

Whenever Stew and I attend public events in San Miguel the audience around me strikes me as a gently undulating sea of white-haired heads. Just as predictably, Stew points out that we both are old too: he sixty-seven, me sixty-six. That was the idea, remember, of moving to retirement community in Florida, Brownsville, Phoenix or Mexico. So shut up about it already.

Still, it bothers me to be surrounded by people who are, hmm, old, just as old as I am or maybe just a tad older than me. What’s the problem? Fear? That these people are mirror-reminders of my own age? Is this what I’m going to look like in a few years, or what other people perceive I already look like right now?

Maybe next year we’ll try the Republican Fourth of July Party, though that crowd is bound to be even geezier and wheezier than the Democrats. But the food is bound to be better, maybe a nice piece of filet and a slice of Strawberry Shortcake followed by an espresso.

Problem is that given the minuscule number of Republicans in this town that celebration likely will be held in someone’s cozy, chandeliered living room, with clinking brandy snifters—and turn out even bigger bore than the Democrats’ shindig.


3 thoughts on “An Olde-Timey Fourth of July

  1. Glad you mentioned this post – I had not seen it! The Repubs meet at Longhorn since the Brit, Keith is a died in the wool Repub. I, for one, am definitely not young any more and I swear there were people there 20 years older then me! Sheesh, next year we'll have a pool party on my patio. Yes, you're right, I don't have a pool but we can pretend. I'm astonished about the flag with 48 stars. That IS a hoot………It was definitely a breathtakingly boring event!


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