A publication of the Virginia, Maryland & Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives

Rural Living
Home | Rural Living | A Rural Fourth

A Rural Fourth

Fireworks, flamingos and fanfare

July 2024

by Margo Oxendine, Contributing Columnist

Well, here we are: Ready for America’s biggest holiday. It’s not Christmas, which is celebrated over much of the world, but the Fourth of July, where we celebrate America’s freedom.

There will no doubt be parades in many towns. We don’t have a Fourth of July parade in Bath County, but I really wish we did. There’s little that’s more heart-stirring than a rousing Independence Day parade, with all that patriotic music.

If I think about it, we did have a celebration on the Fourth years ago. It included a bicycle parade. I love riding a bicycle. It’s difficult to do around here because of speeding pickups and log trucks, and gravel off the macadam.

But back when I was still riding my bike around on back roads, I decided, shoot — I’m going to enter the decorated bicycle parade. I even had a theme. And, of course, it included flamingos.

I planned my outfit: hot pink shorts and a flamingo-festooned T-shirt. And, of course, pink shoes. I happened to have a rather large flamingo flag, or I guess you’d call it a windsock. When the wind hit it, the flamingo flew. I attached it to a dowel and flew it from the back of my bike. Then, a savvy friend rigged up a “sound system” to the conveyance, which played Jimmy Buffett’s “Margaritaville.” It was all quite tropical. I just knew it would be a hit with the crowds.

What I failed to realize until I got myself and my bicycle there was this: It was a kid’s parade. I was the only adult, and a rather daft looking one at that. Nonetheless, I didn’t want my endeavor to go to waste, so it was decided that I would lead the parade, with all the dozens of cute kids in Uncle Sam hats and such on their red, white and blue-ribboned bikes, riding behind. Of course, I didn’t win the prize; that would have been almost scandalous. But I had a great time, nonetheless. And my entry drew several comments from cheering, but head-scratching, onlookers.

While we residents rarely have our own fireworks display on the evening of the Fourth, we do get to enjoy a dazzling display put on by The Homestead for its guests. We locals simply park our vehicles alongside the golf course, get out, walk a little way, or sit on the hood and look up at the fiery sky. It’s always breathtaking. And it causes, afterward, what is perhaps the only traffic jam to occur all year in Hot Springs.

This year, I won’t be riding any flamingo-festooned bike. I probably won’t even be parking along the roadside. I will be worrying at home during the booms of the pyrotechnics. My second, and hopefully last, heart surgery is slated for July 8, the Monday after the holiday, in Charlottesville.

This one, I learned recently from my surgeon, will be no “piece of cake,” like the first. This time, there will be a five-inch-long incision made in my throat. Sheesh! Even after it heals or scars over, I will look like I’ve been in a nasty bar brawl or escaped a murder attempt. Then again, it will surely be yet another tale to tell — should anyone inquire. And I love to tell tales, as you know.

To order a copy of Margo’s “A Party of One,” call 540-468-2147 Mon.-Wed., 9 a.m.-5 p.m., or email [email protected].