Thursday, July 4, 2019

Independence Day

By Cheryl Oreglia

It's Independence Day, we're up at the lake, and I'm listening to Blake belt out Your lips taste like sangria (go ahead, click on it). Just for the hell of it I lick my lips. Nothing. Nada. They taste a little like chapstick and peanut butter. I won't be falling into a wild warm kiss any time soon. Story of my life. And then as if I were able to materialize my own desires, a tub of sangria walks right through the front door, and lands on our laden counter. Well the tub didn't actually walk into the house on its own, it was carried by Cole and Ned, but I'm fairly certain my lips will soon taste like sangria. 

When the cars are stacked up like dominos in the driveway I think "It's time to get this party started...Tippin' n' spilling that home-made wine." The house is fully stocked, sangria is flowing, and there is no chance we'll go hungry, thirsty, or lonely for the next three days. #whoareallthesepeople? The snapchats are posting, tweets are rolling out, and the weekend hashtags are taking form. Our top three: #frontallobing (I didn't hear a thing you just said), #slushietime (adult beverage for adults that want to act like children), #wheresAudrey (self evident). The age range this year is fifty-eight to negative four weeks (Taylor's about to pop). It somehow works. My youngest son is MIA all weekend. I still don't know where he is, but I keep telling myself he's 21, let him roll. He does return my texts, so unless he's being held by a hostel texter, I believe he's fine. I begrudgingly remind myself we are celebrating our independence from an overbearing motherland. #Chill

All week there are these incredible pyrotechnics displays hosted by towns and casinos all around the lake, like a dress rehearsal for the big event, and we made it to all of them cheering, "Here's to our lady." The script is the same, you boat out at dusk, drop anchor with hundreds of other boats dotting the lake, and sip adult beverages. During one of the shows we literally hooked up (the boats not the people) with our tulip festival friends from several blogs ago. How we found them in the pitch dark is still a mystery. Yelling, "Terri" did not help at all because her name is TAMI. Note to self, read old blogs before trying to find new friends. What the hell were we thinking? I blame the homemade wine, deteriorating memory, and #frountallobing. 

Fourth of July is like Ground Hog Day, it repeats every year, even though the cast of characters seems to ebb and flow. We tether ourselves to the deck most of the day, yoga mats come out in the morning, endless cups of coffee, reposition the umbrellas for afternoon shade, charge up the readers, pull out a book, boat rides to cool off, swimming, paddle boarding, and floating are favorites. When the salami and cheese board surface, Slushies appear, and we enter into a few rousing games of Cornhole or Mexican Train. Sometimes we go to the Richmond grill for wave runners and onion rings, or stop by the the wineries and check out the new releases, but end the day you'll find us barbecuing burgers on deck. 

On the morning of the fourth we cheer on the participants of the time-honored neighborhood parade, Rachel and Craig pass out Bloody Mary's in dixie cups, and we dress in red, white, and blue sporting miniature flags. We're smitten with America. It's tradition and we look forward to this weekend every year. 

All good things must come to an end. The last car pulls out of the drive, flags waving from the back of Rosie as the train exits Kono Tayee, horns a honking. I decide to stay back and indulge in some light house keeping. I spent the day putzing around, eight loads of laundry, three blessed toilets (for which we are thankful), miles of sticky floors (sangria much), and a pantry that has gone completely insane. I listen to pandora as I work, until that magical song comes on, "Your lips taste like sangria," and I take that as a sign. Time to wipe the sweat from my face, put down the toilet brush, and go in search of a fruity beverage. Plant a flag because I found a pitcher of leftover sangria in the fridge! I pour a glass and dump my weary ass in a lounge chair on the back deck. Everything is quiet and calm. The vacationers have pulled out, #Clearit. I love this quiet and I embrace it like a lover. 

I let my mind wonder, casually reviewing the weekend, my stomach still hurts from laughing, or maybe it was the five mile hike straight up the face of Mt. Konocti. I think about all the good things that happened this weekend, Ana Russo's grandson was born, Audrey on deck, incredible wine, long boat rides, selfies of Kelley, great meals, good friends both near and far. I am languid with happiness (or sangria).
Seth Godin says, "All of us have a narrative. It's the story we tell ourselves about how we got here, what we're building, what our urgencies are. And within that narrative, we act in a way that seems reasonable. To be clear, the narrative isn't true. It's merely our version, our self-talk about what's going on. It's the excuses, perceptions and history we've woven together to get through the world. It's our grievances and our perception of privilege, our grudges, and our loves." 
This is why we celebrate our independence or freedom of thought. As we build our lives we get to decide who fits into our narrative and who doesn't. I think that might be our only true freedom. I realize it is difficult to understand each other, mostly because #frontallobing has become a national obsession, and we certainly don't want to make the difficult journey, one if by land, two if by sea, to empathize with each other. Your thoughts are as foreign to me as mine are to you. But here's the newsflash. We occupy the same territory in glory or defeat. I am so happy to run through the streets yelling, "the regulars are coming." The people in my life who show up, brandishing the wine, and are thrilled (or at least reconciled) about ending up in my damn narrative. Life is a privilege, friends a rare blessing, and now my lips taste like sangria. 

A penny for your thoughts?

When I'm not writing for Across the Board, I'm Living in the Gap, drop by anytime! 

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