By Scarlette Quille
This weekend’s forecast: Approximately seven degrees cooler than hell, but with worse traffic. Plan accordingly.
Get out on the water as soon as you can, find yourself a floaty and a cooler full of your drink of choice, and celebrate your independence. The Fourth of July is the holiday where you do not have to conform to a bizarre standard of expectations: no gifts, no fancy meals, no freaky mythological creatures sneaking into your house at night and casting judgment on your kids. It’s the choose-your-own-adventure holiday. We get to celebrate our good decisions and our bad decisions, because we live in a country where we are free to make our own choices.
You can spend all day in a bikini with your muffin top out, because it’s YOUR muffin top and there is no law against baring it. We are free people.
I am grateful for the country I live in and choices I have and even more grateful to the individuals who fought for it and the families who lost loved ones in the process. Our country is not perfect, nor are we. It’s an ever changing work in progress. So this weekend celebrate the best part of being American and stop complaining about the bullshit.
Have fun. Eat a hot dog. drink some beer. Savor the American flavor.
I have a renewed love for living among the free and the brave. About twice a month I pick up a shift at a very small bar in Sandpoint. The bar is more than 80 years old and has an eclectic clientele. It is not the busiest bar in town—it is located in the parking lot of one of our local hotels. I am not going to name this bar, but if you know anything about our local watering holes, you can figure it out.
The close proximity of this bar to one of our larger hotels means that at any time during the summer, the bar can become flooded with tourists. You can go from a “I’m making $20 bucks in tips tonight, maybe” type of night, to a night where you walk away with a pocket full of cash and a good story to tell.
I think that’s why I enjoy picking up shifts there. I like money, but I like good stories even better.
A couple of Sundays, I had one of those nights. The bar had about six people in it at the beginning of the shift: a couple of regulars and a newlywed couple. They had actually gotten married the day before and were spending their honeymoon at a bar that does not have air conditioning or drinks with umbrellas in them.
The newlyweds were in great spirits, drinking, playing song after song on the jukebox, dancing together, not really giving a crap who was joining in or watching. They kept their spirits high despite being hit on ruthlessly by other patrons. There’s something about getting married that always makes one a bit more desirable … right? Anyway, it was about this time my favorite musician walked into the bar. He also seemed to be having an inspired Sunday evening. He instantly made friends with the newlyweds and then decided he was going to play some music. Maybe he was motivated by all the love in the air, or maybe he just felt like singing. I can’t really say.
Music Man announced that he was going to get his instrument and then walked out of the bar. At this point, I can only presume that he grabbed his guitar and held it up to the heavens like He-Man, prompting lighting bolts to shoot down from the sky, energize him and summon his band members. Either way, the next thing I know, Music Man walks back into the bar, shirtless and holding his guitar. Several of his musician friends appeared with various musical items, and they started performing.
The music and energy created some sort of vortex, and people started pouring into the bar. First came a couple of senior citizens, then some Canadians and then, out of no where, 15 men from Austria who were working on some sort of expedition for National Geographic filtered in. The bar was full, the music was great. Eighty-year-olds were giving each other hickies, the newlyweds are likely expecting their first child in nine months and the Austrians drank Budweiser.
Which incidentally, I am fairly sure isn’t what they meant to order. It’s just what they kept saying while pointing to other types of beer. Apparently they thought Budweiser was just a term for beer. It was strange. I gave them Budweisers, and then they asked for more, but then what they really meant was Rainier or Pabst or Moose Drool. They liked the music. The Canadians liked the fact that the beer was cheap and they were allowed to smoke—a choice they do not get to make in their own country.
I walked out of there filled with positive energy and an appreciation for living and working in a place where anything can happen at any time. There are choices that we get to make that we take for granted. Spending time with citizens of different countries renewed my appreciate for my home.
I can’t always promise a huge multicultural party every time I work at this little bar. I can not guarantee that the Music Man will appear in his shirtless glory, wielding his guitar. What I can promise you is lots of choices and the freedom to make it the party that you want it to be.
Happy Fourth, ya’ll.
If you find yourself in need of a Budweiser and some good company, you might want to check out this little bar on Sunday night. Ask a local. They will point you in the right direction.
Cheers to Freedom,
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