Happy Independence Day.

I would like to wish all my American friends and family a very happy Independence Day today. Every year, I buy myself a Boyds Bear wall calendar because I just love those fluffy teddy bears, who are always whimsically dressed for the occasion. Of course this month, they’re all ready for the July 4th celebrations.

I well remember the first time we were in the USA for Independence Day. In 1995, we happened to be in San Francisco. Although it was supposed to be mid summer, it was bitterly cold, and I was shivering so much at Fisherman’s Wharf, that I had to buy myself a warm sheepskin jacket. It was quite telling, that most of the T-shirts on sale, were long-sleeved. Obviously the traders know what the summer weather can be like there. Here I am huddled inside my jacket, outside the famous Ghirardelli chocolate shop. (Excuse the hair. It was the fashion then.) 😉

When evening came, and it was time for the firework display to start, the fog came down like a wet blanket, and it would have been impossible to see anything worthwhile, so we took our opportunity to dive into a restaurant for dinner, before the hoards arrived after the display. It was so warm and cosy in there, and we didn’t regret not standing out in the cold mist, one little bit.

The following year, we were in Washington, and had proper summer weather. We watched the parade, which was spectacular.

Many families were gathered for picnics and games on the lawns near the Reflecting Pond which lies between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument.

The Washington Monument on the National Mall, was built to commemorate the first US President, General George Washington, and is the world’s tallest stone structure, and also the world’s tallest obelisk. It stands over 555 feet high, and weighs about 40,000 tons.

Trust the Americans to build one even taller than the Egyptians. 😉 (The tallest Egyptian obelisk which stands in the square in front of the Lateran Basilica in Rome, is a mere 105.6 feet tall and weighs 455 tons.)

Our son whose name is Jefferson, had to have his photo taken with his namesake, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and who of course later became President of the United States.

I find it fascinating that both Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, the only signers who later served as President, died on the same day, July 4th, 1826. A third president, James Monroe also died on July 4th, 1831. The 30th President, Calvin Coolidge, born on July 4th, 1872, is so far, the only President to have been born on Independence Day.

Well it’s not a special day here in South Africa, except of course for the people who will be shopping at our local mall. They’ll be able to hear me playing piano for them. Last week, I had one guy dancing to my music, and a lady insisted I play “Unforgettable” for her mother listening in on her cell phone in Cape Town. 😉

Have a great day everyone, wherever you are. Make it really count.