The Geezer took me to an early 4th of July parade. I always ask lots of questions. Watching the parade pass prompted many. Our conversation, part of it, was as follows:
I asked, “Geezer, are fire engines painted red because that’s the color of fire?
The Geezer answered. “No, but I’ve heard two reasons why fire-engines are painted red. One is that early firemen were proud of their trucks and so they painted them the most expensive color available in the late 1800’s. But … The reason I think makes more sense was that most early automobiles were painted black. Firemen in the late 1800’s wanted it to be easy for people to see them coming when they raced to a fire so they painted their trucks red, a color not used on cars back then.
That was good info for my next trivia contest. I decided to ask a question I knew the answer to just to hear the old boy pontificate, “Geezer, why do you humans have fire-engines in a parade, play all that Souza music, and set off fireworks, and wave all those flags, on the 4th of July?”
Geezer grinned and said, “The 4th of July is our country’s birthday so we Americans celebrate it just like we celebrate your birthday on January 18th. But, you knew that, Sandy.”
I complained, “It’s different. My birthday only rates a bluegrass band and the parade consists of Mr. Smith’s pickup and boat trailer.” A band came around the corner, all with flags attached to their hats. “Wow, there are a lot of flags. Why do you humans have flags, anyway?”
Geezer answered, “All people have flags as symbols of their country. We have the stars and stripes, Japan has a rising sun, Canada has a Maple leaf. Those symbols say something about their country.”
“Why do we have the stars and stripes for America?” I asked.
The Geezer thought for a few seconds and then answered, “Sandy, most people will tell you the stars stand for each state we have in our nation and that thirteen stripes stand for the original thirteen colonies that declared their independence. That is true. But …… I’m going to give another reason, one that I believe is as important. I see those stripes as stairs that our country offers to all its citizens, who are willing to do the work to climb them, to reach the stars above.
# # # # #
For information on the “Possibilities! The Hudson comes to the Peace” writers conference, go to http://www.abc-artisansofbooks.com or https://southwestfloridawritersconference.godaddysites.com .
# # # # #