On celebrating the birthday of the nation
Periodically, The Block Island Times goes out & about to tap the pulse of islanders and visitors. This time, we did so in the midst of the Fourth of July Parade and by dropping in on a backyard party. We asked, “What are your feelings about the Fourth of July holiday and what does it mean to you?” The following were among the responses we received:
Fourteen-year-old Alec Madden was unequivocal: “It’s totally Miss [Carole] Payne’s donuts! They’re the best!” A bit more expansive, his friend, Ryan Fiore, also 14, added, “Just coming here, the parade and fireworks and everything about the island.” Ryan’s sister Kaylen said she was extending her July 3 birthday celebration. Robert Madden, Alec’s dad, summed it up, “For me it’s being with family and friends and Miss Payne’s donuts.”
To 11-year-old Jane Greenaway — here with her siblings Asa, 13, Phoebe, 9, and 4-year old Natalie — the holiday “celebrates independence and the signing of the Declaration.” Carol Palmer, from Baltimore said, “For me, it’s a time that inspires family and friends to come together.”
Sue and Bill Custance were here with family and friends, among them Kadri Myliss from Germany who’d never been to a July 4 celebration before, but thought it “a fun spectacle.” Sue added, “I love a small down-home American celebration on this beautiful island.”
In a High Street backyard, the theme was “all about family and friends getting together and celebrating,” as Lindsey and Dan Muldoon described it. Caught up in the program of orchestrated fun, including a home grown “Olympics,” Tom and Linda Pearson were the guests of their adult children for the week.
Of the Fourth, Tom said, “I’ve always loved summer and sharing a birthday with the country.” The collective birthday celebrations also included one for their daughter Erica Giampietro, here from Boston with her husband Phillip. He spends time practicing for his rock climbing adventures by balancing himself as he crosses a slack line strung between two backyard trees.
Another family member, Kim Giampietro, from New York, felt it was “nice to see a celebration in a smaller place because you have more of a connection to the meaning of the holiday.” Rachma and Atul Khosha, of Boston, here for the first time, fell totally in love with the island. All agreed the celebrations included lots of cheering, lots of laughter and lots of food.
In the words of Max DeGuen, it was the “corn-on-the-cob, hands down!”