The Fourth of July is a day to honor our country, celebrate with friends, and drink America's finest beer. But wait, America can't claim a beer anymore - our great American beers are owned by foreign countries. OK, then we can be patriotic, socialize, and drink anything we want.
On the Fourth of July, husband and I visited 3 different houses and met many new friends. We were very patriotic - husband in his flag look-a-like polo shirt and me in anything I could squeeze into. (note to self - buy something red, white, and blue with stars and stripes for 2010)
The first stop was a cottage on Lake Sallie - the mission was for husband to talk golf with a pretty young thing who was a golf star in high school and college. I talked to the mom and got a tour of the beach. Loved it - want to buy the cottage and the pontoon that was parked at the dock - not for sale - will be passed down to children. We sat there for awhile, soaking in the sun and the crystal blue water, and rubbing the ears of an adorable Golden Retriever.
Then off to a house across the street for a bar-b-que with a man we met playing golf. (golf is a great social networking medium - and you don't riddle your conversation with LOL and OMG - but that's another topic) This man, John, has a live menagerie of animals that he inherited when his wife passed away a few years ago.
There is Gimlet, a parrot, who is 40 years old (did you know parrots can live to be 80 or 90? - one must make sure they are named in the trust) Gimlet was a little shy. She did not like all the people invading her space. And, according to John, she was a little pissed at him for taking her from her Arizona environment she knew so well and transporting her to Minnesota. She punished him by destroying her perch. However, she enjoyed the rib he gave to her at the party. She held it in her claw, ate all the meat off with her beak, and then ceremoniously threw it on the floor - kind of like in a Jewish wedding. She did the same with the corn on the cob.
Then there were the 3 cats, Taffy, Casper, and Mulligan. Taffy was the same color as her name, and she disappeared shortly after we arrived - I hope it wasn't my perfume. It might have been husband's vibes as he glared at her sitting on the counter precariously close to the food. Casper was enjoying a ripe old age of 17 and spent most of her time nestled in her comfy bed under the end table. She ventured out to eat and then wash her face back in her nest. Mulligan had a deformed left leg, but was able to get around as well as any of the other cats. She was rescued from some insane two-legged animal who had thrown her out into traffic to get rid of her. She was definately enjoying the last laugh.
Then we walked out to the porch and encountered two Doberman Pinchers. After we were properly introduced to them, we became their best friends. The large one - like a small pony - was named Bear. Bear and his smaller twin liked hovering around the men who sat outside and told golfing lies. The women remained inside gabbing about books, gift stores, and food preparation. I preferred playing with the pets.
After dinner husband and I ventured over to Lake Pelican to visit Jeff and another couple. Lake Pelican is like the Scottsdale of Arizona. Jeff was entertaining another couple with red wine and a beautiful sunset on his porch. The wife of the other couple has a PhD at some Iowa University. I put on my best academic personna and held my own conversing with this woman who was dressed in an all white linen pantsuit with a white and red shawl draped around her shoulders. She had the perfect hair, milky complexion, and diamond baguettes on her fingers. In her ears were the striped portion of the flag - in rubies, diamonds, and sapphires. I felt a little underdressed.
Somewhere between the sun going down and the moon coming up we climbed aboard Jeff's pontoon, bottles of Cabernert in hand, and set sail with the other residents to the north end of the lake for the fireworks display. It was quite a sight. The moon was bright in the sky, there were fireworks going off all around the lake's perimeter, and lights shone in the castle-like homes along the beach. When the main display started, we tuned in to a radio channel that played patriotic songs (unfortunately, no "Coming to America" by Neil Diamond) We had awesome front row seats and the wine even mellowed Ms. PhD. Once the grand finale was over, we slowly crept back to Jeff's house, unable to find it in the dark. It's amazing how wine can press against your bladder when you know you can't make it to the bathroom. After a few passes along the beach, we docked under the canopy and ran to the house.
New and old friends, cold beverages, and a land we love, all make for an awesome Fourth of July.