Friday, June 30, 2006

Friday Five Meme - Independence

It's that time again: RevGalBlogPals' Friday Five. The topic today is "Independence."

1) Do you celebrate 4th of July (or some other holiday representing independence?)
Yes, I do, though not by organizing a huge celebration or anything. I'm American, so I at the very least mark the day by giving thanks to God for blessing me with a homeland that I believe, despite our many flaws as Americans, is the best country there is.

2) When was the first time you felt independent, if ever?
I first felt independent, oddly enough, when I left home at 18 for Army basic training. I come from an abusively controlling family and had never done anything on my own. Despite basic being a highly controlled/controlling environment in its own right, I still did some independent sorts of things: took my first airline flight to get there, chose a new haircut (we women in the '70s, as now, did NOT get the Demi Moore look!), and even took a huge risk to tell the truth to my C.O. when ordered by my drill sergeant to lie. (Glad he believed me, or my military "career" would have been over before it began!)

3) If you're hosting a cookout, what's on the grill?
If I *were* hosting a cookout (apartment dweller here is not), I would probably grill steaks and burgers--and veggie burgers--according to the tastes of my guests. Corn in husks, packets of new potatoes with yummy herbs, red peppers, dunno what else. But they'd all be seasoned to perfection and taste GOOOOOOD! (It's great to have an imaginary grill, don't you think? And there are no calories or mess to clean up.)

4) Strawberry Shortcake -- biscuit or sponge cake? Discuss.
Oh, sponge cake, definitely. Sugar freak that I am, the sweeter the better. But left to my own devices, it's *pound* cake. Preferably my own homemade sour cream pound cake. Edible sin.

5) Fireworks -- best and worst experience
WORST: My first experience with "snakes" as a little child. Those things creeped me out clear to hades and back. If you don't know what those are, you light them and they come "crawling" out, a lengthening, fattening, twisting snake-like dark carbony ash that, when you're only four or so, looks like it's chasing you. But then, I was a very jittery kid. Even sparklers scared the you-know-what out of me and I would let my brothers burn most of my package after I'd burned a couple to "prove" I was "grateful" to get to play with fireworks.

BEST: The annual, obligatory "Fourth of July Concert" I had to play every year while in service. It's so trite I'm embarrassed to say, but at the end of the concert we'd play Tschaikovsky's 1812 Overture, complete with real artillery cannons (firing blank shells, nevery quite in sync with the rhythm) and fireworks. While we in the band would be tearing down after the last number, the crowd would be mesmerized by the fireworks and even we jaded musicians would be a little impressed with the biggest and most colorful bursts.

(Tangent: I think it's ironic that on the most patriotic American holiday, the tradition is to play a Russian overture. Musically it works fine, but I've always thought we ought to have a huge, over-the-top American composition for the Fourth of July. Copland's Fanfare for the Comman Man or even Hoedown from Rodeo come the closest for me, but they're both too short and just don't cut it for "fireworks music." Ah, well.)


Songbird said...

Psalmist, it is a funny choice of music, isn't it? But it's so delightfully bombastic, who can resist?
I personally adore "The Stars and Stripes Forever," particularly the piccolo solo!

Psalmist said...

Egad...I have played that piccolo part, too many times to count! Thanks EVER so much, Songbird, for reminding me how thankful I am that I no longer play in bands! (grins) That is a game for the young.

But I'm glad you like it. It's certainly a perennial favorite. Always our most-requested march. Do you play an instrument?

I agree on the bombastic nature of the 1812. I like the piece in spite of myself, actually.

SingingOwl said...

We always put loud band music on the record player (yes, the record player--we have a favorite old LP) on the morning of July 4th. I love TSASF too...and as for the 1812 was the FIRST piece of classical music I ever heard. Ours was not a classical music family, and so I first heard those canons and timpanni at about age 10. I went home and begged my mother to get me a record. I searced for some time to find one. I still have it, and I'll probably going to give it away in my will.

St. Inuksuk said...

A little Sousa and you can't lousa in celebrating the 4th!!! I apologize for that!!!!!!
I do like your Copeland suggestions.