Happy Fourth of July, even though in most parts of the country, all celebrations have been cancelled. In the town where I live, the annual parade, fireworks and face painting is all taking place online. It’s not the typical Fourth of July sitting inside on your laptop watching computer-generated fireworks, but this is not a typical year — there is a pandemic going on.
This year’s Fourth of July reminds me of something my mom once said to me when I was on a summer vacation with my family.
I was 12 years old at the time and we were in a town in Maine. We had flown into Montreal and rented a way-too-small two-door Chevy for five kids and two rather large adults. In term of lodging, my parents didn’t believe in making reservations, so after driving all day in the clown car, we ended up late at night in a small town in Maine.
Because there was an orthodontists’ convention in town, there was no room in the inn. It was the Jesus, Mary and Joseph tour. On most vacations, my mom would try to work her magic at The Holiday Inns and Hiltons by bringing my cute younger sister, Katie, in with her and hoping the front desk clerk would take pity on her situation. Usually that would work, and they’d give us a room. But not this time. Now it was getting later and later, and for those of us crammed in the back, we could not feel our feet because we were losing circulation.
So my dad drove 40 minutes away from the orthodontists’ convention to an even smaller town in Maine, where we found a creepy old Victorian house that went by the name of The Rockhurst Hotel that had plenty of rooms.
When we checked in, the place was old and musty, and we complained to my mom that this was not a Holiday Inn and it had no game room. My mom has always been great at spinning things, so as we all started to complain, she stopped us and said, “You’ll always remember the bad places you stay in, never the good ones.”
That’s kind of how I feel about this pandemic Fourth of July. I’m sure it won’t be the idyllic Fourth of July running into all of my friends and neighbors at the parade and catching candy from the floats, but somehow, I think I’ll remember this one anyway.