Where We Spent Today


It was a lovely day – we got there early, so as to be assured of a place to set out the umbrella and the blanket. We expected to beat a large crowd, which never really materialized. There were mostly families, setting up on the beach, or on the levels above the little cove, children and their parents, splashing about in the shallow water. The day pass is only good up until 6 PM, which probably cuts down on the rowdiness. The Air Force and the Army recreation services have a slice of recreation area on Canyon Lake, which is a short drive from San Antonio. The recreation area encompasses a small beach with picnic grounds adjacent, a dock and anchorage for small boats, rental cabins and cottages and RV spaces. Next year, we are thinking of renting one of the cottages for the 4th. Depends on how everything goes. We hope that things will go on in the Shire, as they always have, from day to day.

Shall It Be Sustained?

As a July 4th tradition, I’ve posted an excerpt from Stephen Vincent Benet’s poem Listen to the People.  The title I originally used for these posts was It Shall Be Sustained, which is from the last line of Benet’s poem.

Narrator:

This is Independence Day,
Fourth of July, the day we mean to keep,
Whatever happens and whatever falls
Out of a sky grown strange;
This is firecracker day for sunburnt kids,
The day of the parade,
Slambanging down the street.
Listen to the parade!
There’s J. K. Burney’s float,
Red-white-and-blue crepe-paper on the wheels,
The Fire Department and the local Grange,
There are the pretty girls with their hair curled
Who represent the Thirteen Colonies,
The Spirit of East Greenwich, Betsy Ross,
Democracy, or just some pretty girls.
There are the veterans and the Legion Post
(Their feet are going to hurt when they get home),
The band, the flag, the band, the usual crowd,
Good-humored, watching, hot,
Silent a second as the flag goes by,
Kidding the local cop and eating popsicles,
Jack Brown and Rosie Shapiro and Dan Shay,
Paul Bunchick and the Greek who runs the Greek’s,
The black-eyed children out of Sicily,
The girls who giggle and the boys who push,
All of them there and all of them a nation.
And, afterwards,
There’ll be ice-cream and fireworks and a speech
By somebody the Honorable Who,
The lovers will pair off in the kind dark
And Tessie Jones, our honor-graduate,
Will read the declaration.
That’s how it is. It’s always been that way.
That’s our Fourth of July, through war and peace,
That’s our fourth of July.

And a lean farmer on a stony farm
Came home from mowing, buttoned up his shirt
And walked ten miles to town.
Musket in hand.
He didn’t know the sky was falling down
And, it may be, he didn’t know so much.
But people oughtn’t to be pushed around
By kings or any such.
A workman in the city dropped his tools.
An ordinary, small-town kind of man
Found himself standing in the April sun,
One of a ragged line
Against the skilled professionals of war,
The matchless infantry who could not fail,
Not for the profit, not to conquer worlds,
Not for the pomp or the heroic tale
But first, and principally, since he was sore.
They could do things in quite a lot of places.
They shouldn’t do them here, in Lexington.

He looked around and saw his neighbors’ faces

The poem is very long, and is worth reading in full. The full text was published in Life Magazine; it is online here. The Life text may be a little difficult to read; I posted an excerpt which is considerably longer than the above here.

Benet’s poem ends with these words:

We made it and we make it and it’s ours
We shall maintain it. It shall be sustained

But shall it?

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Top Gun!

Chicagoboyz haven’t seen the new movie, but who wouldn’t leap to see 60-years-young Tom Cruise reprise his original Tom Cruise-like performance with a supporting cast of stereotypes upgraded for current sensibilities, including the bad guys of the day? (Actually we prefer the Halston biopic on Netflix – despite the gratuitous gay sex scenes, and the decline-and-fall plotting of the final episodes that make it feel a bit like Scarface with lawyers.) In any event the first Hot Shots movie was an entertaining parody that has held up well.

Anecdotes: The Exotic Airbnb

The listing looked great. A luxurious rental tent with hardwood floors, nice furniture, attached enclosed bath and other comforts of home. The luxury tent was in a remote and extremely beautiful natural location. It looked fun – why not try it for a few days? There were many mostly glowing reviews and no negative reviews. A few reviewers mentioned the rough road leading up to the place. The listing itself was circumspect on this point. I messaged the host: Was it possible to reach his place in an ordinary rental car? He assured me that this would not be a problem, he had guests arriving in all kinds of vehicles including Priuses etc. He didn’t say anything else about getting to his place, so I went ahead and booked it as a stop on a planned road trip.

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