O.K., the Fourth of July is almost here. Like it or not, social distancing is still firmly in place, making me consider constructing 6-foot tongs to serve the burgers to the patio dwellers who will all be seated according to a grid design that promises to waylay contagion. It’s all rather dismal, I know, but we do what we can: paper cups and plates, no double dipping, actually no dipping at all, BYOB/soda, iced tea, water. Hand sanitizer will be provided. The bathroom? Use it at your own risk. Oh, it is all getting to sound so forced, lackluster, virus-weighty. And, to top it all off, the 4th of July parades are canceled this year. What insult to injury! No floats, no shuffle-marching veterans, no flag waving dancers, no marching bands, or gleaming fire trucks. No Grand Marshal waving from the window of a 1948 Ford. No families lining the sidewalks. No seniors propped up in their lawn chairs. No teens standing in huddles of posed indifference waiting to razz the Drum Majorette. It’s just another sorry loss courtesy of the pandemic.
But what can we do to not get sucked into a morass of depression? I’ll tell you: Be your own damn parade. Be a one-person parade. Get glammed up in your patriotic finery, ask Alexa to play John Philips Sousa or “God Bless America,” and start marching, dancing, prancing around your block, in your yard, down Main street, outside of a nursing home, or by the light of the silvery moon. Be the parade. Be the best of it. Be the one who lifts the spirit of every onlooker. Be the one who is independent. Make some noise, sing, shout, toss a baton, wear your uniform, wave to the crowds, hold the American Flag/ rainbow flag/ B.L.M. flag/UN Peace flag … Give everyone a smile from 6 feet away. Give them a wave. Let them know you’ll be back next year, but, in the meantime, be your own damn parade.