Independence Day

American Flag - Elizabeth Harper

‘My Country, ‘Tis of Thee …’  are the words running though my head this afternoon.

I left the United States seven and a half weeks ago and aside from a few passing moments, I have not been really homesick until today. Today is the 4th of July, if you’re reading this and you’re an American, the date has meaning. Today in England, there is nothing on the news to indicate what’s happening on the other side of the ocean. The US seems to make the news here everyday, but today, when I’d like a glimpse of home there is nothing.

Cullene's Table - Elizabeth Harper

I’ve tried to create a bit of flavor from home by making some of my favorite family recipes. Things you’d recognize on any table at any gathering on July 4th.  I thought it would help, but I think I miss the traditions of the day and the people I love from home even more.


My sister in Alaska quite sweetly made me my very own version of a Peachtree Road Race number with a few modifications to fit my geographical location.  I usually run this race every year with exception of a few when I’ve been out of the country on vacation. I spoke with one of my closest friends this morning as she was preparing for the race. We ran the Marine Corps Marathon together last October and it would have been fun to run the what is touted as the world’s largest 10K run, with her today. It’s limited to 55,000 runners and the race numbers are almost as valuable as one of Willie Wonka’s Golden tickets.

Race Ticket

The weather here was quite different from the 91 degree heat I noticed on the Atlanta Journal website. Of course it’s always heat stroke weather for the Peachtree and it would not be right if wasn’t hellishly hot. Which is why when I looked out the window today and saw the weather here, I decided to skip my morning run.

Water Window

With the windy wet weather we’re having here, our barbeque chicken had to be cooked in the oven instead of outside on the grill. John keeps referring to the amount of food I’ve prepared for just the two of us as a feast. I can’t help thinking about my dad manning the grills on the 4th. Yes, you read that right. I said grills as in at least two and sometimes three. Chicken and burgers and ribs … oh my! Even though there were usually only five to ten people at our house on the 4th, my dad would cook as if the whole neighborhood would be on the doorstep before the day was out. We would have leftovers for days … with so much chicken you’d think you were going to start clucking if you had to eat another piece.

July 4 Lunch 2008

It’s been a quiet day here at my home away from home. Thanks to my sister in Alaska who took the time to dig out some family genealogy …we’ve spent a bit of the day reading about the life my ancestor, John Sparks who along with many others fought for American Independence.

Apple Pie

It’s late evening and John and I have had our first 4th of July together. We’ve had a lovely meal and lots of conversation about the ways our respective countries are both different and alike. When I went to Wikipedia to see who wrote the lyrics to ‘America’ also known as, ‘My Country, ‘Tis Of Thee,’ I found that Samuel Francis Smith wrote the lyrics without knowing that the melody he was using was the same as the one used for ‘God Save The Queen,’ the national anthem of the United Kingdom.

Imagine that … I guess in some ways we’re really not that different after all.

Reposted from original GOTJ

Sorry to have such tiny photos, but the originals were smaller on the first GOTJ blog.

2 thoughts on “Independence Day

  1. 6 Comments (Reposted original comments with dates attached)

    latitude 61
    A few years ago I happened to be in Canada on July 1, which is more or less equivalent to the Fourth. It was an odd feeling to be surrounded by folks celebrating independence; I admit being provincial enough to have always thought of independence as an American invention. I was glad, therefore, to read that you’re holding the flag (and chicken and potato salad) high on the Cornish coast. But then, you’re one of the most independent-mind people I know, so I’m not surprised.
    Sunday, July 6, 2008

    Hello there! As soon as I saw that picture on your banner I thought, “She’s in the southwest!” You probably know this already as you found me first, but I am a North American with an Englishman too – it gets easier, I promise!! It’s very nice to meet you!
    Sunday, July 6, 2008

    Fireman Ed
    Your blog is wonderful. We all miss you here in Atlanta.
    Wednesday, July 9, 2008

    Your thoughtful words and artful photos never fail to warm my heart. PLEASE keep it up!
    Wednesday, July 9, 2008

    At 55 I was introduced to homesickness a year ago,,,,,moving from the Oregon coast to N. Alabama…I fought it at first, even thought I made a choice to come here…..”I” know it does get better, a visit home helps,,for a while. I have decided that it is all in choosing an attutude about life. I soak in each new outing to see the south,,,pretty amazing sometimes,,,although I still haven’t seen and alligator or a “live” armadillo. Explore the beauty, and keep sharing with us out here in blog land,,,and I thank you.
    Saturday, July 26, 2008

    Marcie – Wow a move from the Oregon coast to N. Alabama…you are a change seeking woman! Seriously, there are some lovely places in the Southeast and that area has them everywhere if one is open to appreciating beauty even if it comes in an unfamiliar package. Seeing your comments on my blog makes me think that you are that kind of person…open to embracing possibility. Welcome to gifts of the journey and I hope you’ll come back. PS. I love to know what motivated your migration to the south.
    Saturday, August 2, 2008

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