Crash! Bang! Kerpow! Either it's the Fourth of July again, or all the aerosol cans in my garage are exploding.
The Fourth of July brings a multitude of fond memories to me, not only in a patriotic sense, but also because it happens to be my birthday as well. Even having to bear with such comments as, "You must be a real firecracker," I'm glad I share my day with such a prestigious holiday. At least I'm not easily forgotten. A birthday on January sixteenth can• slip by unnoticed, but who can forget the Fourth of July? (Besides my mother's maiden aunt who also forgets to send me Christmas cards).
When I was a kid, I naturally assumed that all the fanfare from parades to fireworks was all done in my honor, and it was a big shock to me at about age eight to realize that 15 of us were celebrating my birthday and the rest of the world could care less.
My sister, likewise, thought all the hullabaloo was in my honor and it really bugged her. After all, on her birthday she only got cake and ice cream and a new pair of shoes, but I got a parade, a picnic, fireworks and a new bathing suit. (Even discounting all the rest, she'd have been happy to trade her shoes for the bathing suit).
One year she really got in a tiff about the whole thing and, instead of going down to the corner to watch the annual parade with us, she locked herself in the bathroom. "It's not fair!" she wailed. "Just one time I'd like to see them have a parade for my birthday."
That was the year I learned the horrible truth, as my mother tried to patiently explain to both of us what the Fourth of July really meant and get us down to the corner before we missed the parade. Small town parades have a way of passing swiftly and every second was precious.
Disappointment loomed larger than life for me, although my sister was now delighted, and I found that the parade didn't have the same magic anymore. In fact, I considered locking myself in the bathroom for a good cry.
Now that I am a grown woman of some maturity, although that point is debatable at times, I have learned to be more pragmatic in my approach to my birthday. But the child in me would still like to walk down to the corner to see the parade and I always get goose-bumps when I hear "Yankee Doodle Dandy" on the radio.
So here's to the child in both of us, America, "Happy Birthday.”
Maryann Miller -- a writer, editor and sentimental patriot.