Happy 4th July!
Today I am doing something that I have never done before. I am hosting a 4th July party. Actually, it is the first time that I have ever attended an Independence Day party so I am not quite sure what I am letting myself in for.
As a Trailing Spouse, I meet a lot of women from other countries and cultures, many of them wives or girlfriends of my husband’s colleagues. Some of us meet once a month for a night out and this month we decided to have a BBQ to celebrate Independance Day.
I fear I got off to rather a bad start when I suggested that we start in the afternoon with tea and scones followed later by a BBQ. My American friends were enthusiastic about the thought of cakes, but urged me to substitute Earl Grey for alcoholic beverages. “We drink margaritas and beer on the 4th”, they laughed. They did not have to work hard to persuade me to change my plans, so not only will I be at my first ever 4th July party, I will be drinking my first ever margarita.
They got me thinking, and I decided I should do a bit of research to find out what it is all about and how it is normally celebrated. We Europeans tend to laugh and point at our American visitors, we ridicule them for their lack of knowledge of the geography and history of Europe, we snigger when they get it wrong. But how many of us could correctly pinpoint Illinois or Kansas on a map? To my shame, I only recently realised that the state Arkansas is not pronounced Ar-kansas. I thought that there were two states – Ar-kansas, the other Arkan-saw. As to my knowledge of American history – it is shaky at best.
That Independence Day is a celebration of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, that much I knew. From my research I now know that the celebration could almost have been on the July 2nd – the day that Congress resolved that “That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved”.
I love the letter that John Adams, one of America’s founding fathers, wrote to his wife, “the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America” and celebrate it as their “Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”
He maybe got the day wrong, but the rest of his prophesy was pretty spot on. No mention of margaritas, but that is how my friends have described the 4th. BBQ, burgers, coleslaw, cupcakes, sparklers and the Stars and Stripes.
This is how the cake should look, I will upload photos when it is finished.