Sunday, July 4, 2010

By The Twilight's Last Gleaming

It is often lamented that the days of neighborhoods and front porch conversations have disappeared.  In many places, I suspect that this is true.  I am deeply grateful, however, that it is not true here, as was evidenced tonight with a fantastic Fourth of July barbecue.  Nothing seems more American than beer, burgers, brats, and potato salad on the day that we celebrate our independence from the tyrannical rule of  the King of England.

The party consisted of a variety of families from the parish, the director of vocations, and several religious sisters who will be helping to host a girl's camp in the coming week.  There were kids everywhere, ranging from age four to age eighteen or so.  With the end of dinner and the approach of darkness, we enjoyed our own display of fireworks.  Francis Scott Key's "bombs bursting in air" were nothing compared to the shock and awe the kids perpetrated against the neighbors.  As darkness settled on the horizon, our location afforded us a perfect view of the fireworks provided by the city over Memorial Park.  Once finished, the kids retaliated with another volley from their own arsenals.

Tonight is another night during which I am deeply grateful to be a priest.  The party, as I mentioned, was an assortment of families, but they, collectively, constitute my family.  I have shared moments of great intimacy with each of them.  I have had serious arguments with most of them.  I have been loved by all of them.  Tonight, with bottle rockets still shooting around the city, roman candles arching across the parking lot, fire crackers beating their staccato rhythm in the street, and gray smoke hovering at the height of my window, I prepare for bed a decidedly happy father.

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