Monday, July 5, 2010

Americana 2.0

I don't have any pictures from our Independence Day celebration. I purposefully left my camera at home. I wanted to make memories the old fashioned buuuurn them on my brain. So all I've got to work with are those memories, my words and my ability to embellish. Let's see what we get.

We were invited over to friends for dinner and then to accompany them over to our city fireworks display. They have two children of similar ages to ours so the evening would be a nice little eightsome. We had a fabulous dinner and great conversation. The kids had a grand ole time playing. After dessert, we all mounted our bikes and rode the few short miles over to the hospital parking deck. We watched the fireworks from the top of the deck to get a good view. There were other friends at the deck as well so our group grew in number. Conversations of home improvement projects, recent travel stories and one cross-city move status update floated over the adult crowd while the kids, now nine of them by my count, struck up a game of tag. The tag game ended with the first pyrotechnic burst, but the conversations continued. After all the ooohs and aaahs, the kids had their own little handheld fireworks display with sparklers. Lots of names were written in the air. All the while, the adult conversations continued. But it was getting late, so we exchanged hugs and promises to see each other again soon and our eightsome rode home.

It was exciting for my boys, especially the younger, to be out riding bikes after dark. Heck, it was exciting for me. When was the last time you rode your bike and at night to boot?

The evening was a great little slice of Americana. Normal Rockwellesque, family, wholesome fun.That seems to be what my life with kids is. Maybe it's just my overactive nostaglia gland interpretting the normal events of our days into schmaltzy episodes. I can't help it; sentimentality runs in my family. But nostaglia glands aside, I looked back on our evening and realized that the evening wasn't Americana old-style. It was Americana version 2.0.

By that I mean two things. First in Americana 2.0, technology goes everywhere. Up on the parking deck roof, there were lots of smart phones snapping pictures, thumbs texting and the like going on amidst the conversations. Not just our group but all around us. That is the way it is everywhere, all the time.

Secondly, diversity is the rule. Within our small group alone, the following ancestories and geographic regions were represented: Japanese, Taiwanese, Italian, Scottish, German, Irish, Canadian,Tennesseean, Mississipian, Jerseyans. (Yes, I consider those particular states possessing distinct ancestories all to themselves. If you have visited any of them, you'll agree.) If roll had been called last night, the list would have read like an excerpt from a UN summitt attendance sheet: Yamaguchi, Scott, Wu, Calzonetti, Stapleton, Beins.

So Americana 2.0 is technologically all-connected with an expansion to the old melting pot design. Normal Rockwell didn't see this coming.

This is no great statement on culture or race, just an observation I made while hanging out with some of my closest friends. We all have such different stories which brought us to a basically similar place...Americana 2.0. I like the new upgrade.


  1. Sounds like y'all had such a good time! Reminds me of some of the holidays we had in Ga. & SC!

  2. Great post...even without the pictures! Writing names with best memory of the 4th! Glad you had a great time.

  3. This was beautifully written; I didn't need the photos :)

    Mr.4444 and I have his/hers Schwinn bikes (circa 1970 or so; they belonged to his parents) that have headlights powered by pedaling. Late at night, we like to take neighborhood cruises. You're jealous now, aren't you? :)

  4. Love this post!


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