Clap Clap

July 1, 2002


So much for writing on a regular basis. Here it is July first and almost another week has gone by since I sat down to write.

The reality is that we go from when we get up in the morning until dropping sometime around 11 or 12 at night. Last thursday we took a drive down to Grand Haven with my parents who came down to visit for the day.

Before we headed out to the end of the pier I mentioned that this was where all the folks came to watch the sun set. My dad asked if the people clapped like they did at the tip of Key West.

Clap? Nah, no one does that, maybe back in the 70's, but they don't clap - not any more.

I stopped taking pictures long enough to sit down and watch the sun slip below the horizon.

The crowd clapped.

As we wandered back todward town I announced that as we passed the coast guard station I would once again have to walk up to the bouy on display and ring the big bell. I figure that it's best to let family members walk away like they have no clue about whoever is off ringing the bell.

As I walked away from the bouy my father told me I should have waited just a few more minutes so that I could have run 4 bells for 10pm - and he instructed me that you ring the them ding ding, ding ding.

It's a good thing to know, how to officially ring 4 bells, for two nights later when Mrs and I went back to Grand Haven I waited until 10pm and rang it right this time. As I joined up to her walking along the sidewalk she said to me, "You know I'm going to have to thank your father for telling you how to ring 4 bells. You also know that every time you walk over and ring that thing some little kid runs up and rings it right after you do."

"See, I'm a good role model."

"I'm not sure that's what you call a good role model."

I smiled, and stopped to point my camera back at the pier in the last light of day.

For whatever reason, Grand Haven is home to what is billed as the world's largest musical fountain. Every night after dark the fountain puts on a 30 minute show which attracts quite a few people who sit along the edge of a large park and watch the show across the river.

I turned to my wife and said, "You know, for all the years you have brought the children down to watch this thing, we surely need to have a photo in the collection."

We laid on the grass in the park and watched the flotilla of boats continue in to their respective marinas and bearths. The park was full of people strolling along the waterfront, sitting on benches or like us, laying on the grass. As I watched the people enjoying a warm summer night I thought of those people from thousands of miles away that want to kill us, mostly because of the life that we enjoy.

It's a sad commentary on the world we live in, and this year I fear not for my own personal safety, but for our collective safety, as we celebrate the 4th around the nation.

Perhaps it's time to remember the words of Jefferson: "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.