Happy Birthday, America

On the night of July 3, 2011, I found myself reflecting heavily upon the strides our country has made in the decades and centuries leading up to its 235th birthday. In terms of civil rights, we’ve come a long way, and I feel so lucky to live here rather than in a country where many rights are but a distant dream. Yet despite how far we’ve come, there is still so much further to go. I’m working on my own ways to be a proactive force toward this progress (and I ask you to do your part as well — it’s not as hard as you might think), and instead of dwelling on what’s still wrong in our country, I decided this Independence Day I would celebrate what we have accomplished, albeit in sort of an odd way.

I live in the suburbs of Orange County, California. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve driven home with the theme song to Weeds running through my head (little boxes on a hillside, little boxes all the same…). Yet, just a scant mile outside of the idyllic rows of cul-de-sacs and perfectly manicured lawns is a small community tucked neatly into a canyon. Some hot spots to visit, if you’re so inclined, are the general store and the highly popular biker bar. My roommate and I agree that driving through the town is like taking a trip back to rural, southern Indiana, which is where we both grew up, complete with questionable country folk and old cars in front yards. When I’m in the canyon, I have banjo music running through my head, and I hope nobody tells me I have a purty mouth.

Every year to celebrate July 4th, the canyon community puts on a parade. They should really use the term “parade” loosely because it’s really just a ragtag collection of anyone who wants to participate walking down the main street in a line. It. Was. Interesting. I don’t know how well I can put it into words, so instead, here is a collection of pictures chronicling the event.

Say hi to the neighbors. These folks provided the pre-parade party with a stellar Johnny Cash soundtrack.

Breaking out the fancy furniture. Yes, that's a dining set. It was propped up on paint cans.

The parade's Grand Marshall.

A Civil War reenactment participant perhaps? I have no idea.

The highlight of the event.

It's a donkey. Painted like a zebra. I'm so confused...

This was how they ended the parade. I can't even make this stuff up.

There were maybe a handful of parade participants that I didn’t snap a photo of, but this was pretty much the entire event. Sadly I didn’t get a chance to get a picture of the most glorious lady mullet west of the Mississippi. But I feel like I got in touch with middle America and therefore became somehow super patriotic. I hope everyone had a happy and safe Independence Day however you chose to celebrate. Or not celebrate. But I’m sure you did celebrate because you don’t hate America, right?
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