family, friends, holidays, nature


Independence (Noun): Freedom from control by outside agents or influence, self-reliance, self-governance.

Of course, i’m not a wild patriot, in fact – i’m currently embarrassed by the state of governmental affairs and the current administration is not particularly my favorite. But you see . . . living this close to D.C., i just don’t take a hard-line stance on political life or activism. And i never discuss politics or religion in polite company and certainly, never at the table. Besides – you never know the company you keep when you go running off at the mouth with your opinions.

We renamed sauerkraut “Liberty Cabbage” during WWII, had this spell of boycotting French wines and are so mad at French Fries in the local government cafeterias, i understand they call them “Freedom Fries.” We forget that France and its people were critical in winning our independence. LaFayette and Rochambault fought alongside Washington in the final days of the Revolutionary War, while Admiral DeGrasse’s fleet prevented Cornwallis from escaping from Yorktown. In 1778 France became the first nation to recognize the United States. It supplied us with uniforms, arms, and the credit with which we paid for them. The very symbol of our independence, the Statue of Liberty, was a gift of the French.

Interesting Etymology: “Independent” is composed of in- “un-, not” + dependent. “Dependent” comes from the Latin present participle “depend-ens” from dependere “to hang from, depend.” This verb contains de- “from” and pendere “to hang,” akin to Latin pondo “by weight” from which we borrowed “pound.” Pondere “to weigh, ponder” is the origin of this word. The English word “spin” comes from the same root, *(s)pen-, with an [s] that is sometimes there, sometimes not. The Old English word “spithra” was originally spinthra “spinner.” Today it is “spider.”

Here (and most everywhere) we have something called an American House Spider. A very self-reliant creature. Every nite it builds a large web (an amazing thing to watch) ending at the center where there is extra silk to suspend itself, waiting for its prey to be caught up and entangled. Then it throws some extra silk over the captures and eats the entire web, squirming dinner and all. It repeats this same show every nite. Females can live up to a year which is impressive for such a creature who hangs out under the eaves so close to houses filled with squalling humans.

Tonite Zoey, Brooks, Jesse, Hope, Dan, Dave & Amy and me cooked out. Barbeque chicken, cheeseburgers, baked beans, garden salad and lots of wine. Then set off some slightly illegal fireworks. i highly recommend watching fireworks while wearing holographic 3-D glasses. They make every light into a prism or a halo, even the dimming light of the sunset through the trees.

In my (red)neck of the woods, the reporting sound of gunfire can also be heard, competing with the sound of exploding fireworks. Odd that we should believe the perfect end to fighting a war and winning our freedom is to set more things on fire and fire off more weapons in the name of glory, but that’s us I suppose. Sometimes, i wish I had an eagle eye view of the whole affair. Most other times, i am glad for excellent company, warm nights, good food and glittering lights.

How was your red, white & blue?