Parades and Americana and the Future
My next door neighbor's daughter turned five. Part of the party involved she and her friends, costumed as animals, marching through the neighborhood, shaking tambourines and banging drums. It was marvelous. The adults walked beside and behind, sometimes talking with each other, sometimes cheering for the kids. Blue skies. Dogs barking. Neighbors stopping to watch and smile. Marching by the old houses, underneath giant oak and crepe myrtle trees, the scene waxed idyllic. Together, we created a cinematic-like memory, a sweeping scene that happens in fiction not life: A Happy Happy Birthday Parade! But here it was, real Americana.
That's all groovy. But a greater and simpler truth about the day is this: My neighbor's child turned five, full of life and wonder about the world. A child who smiles widely and hugs a hug that can rip the cynicism from your soul and replace that darkness with the bright-blue atmosphere of hope. Children do this to us.
When telethon hosts, hack fundraisers and politicians admonish you with the clap-trap, "children are the future," well, we can rightfully barf a bit in out mouths.
But this child's smile, her sincere hug, cuts the triteness out of the phrase and leaves you with, "Oh, right, she is the future. Let's make sure that future exists."
That's what the truth of turning five, or having a parade or eating birthday cake is: We've got this kid to leave this world to. So, fucking up everything seems a bad idea. So let's don't.