Pardon me if I’m just a bit premature.  You see, Mrs. R and I will be setting out shortly to visit her family Up North for the Independence Day hols, returning to the Port-Swiller residence next Tuesday (still sans the gels!), and it’s unlikely that my raccoon-like fingers will come within reach of a keyboard before then.  Feel free to help yourselves to the decanter while I’m away.  The walnuts are on the table and the Stilton is over on the sideboard.

I must say that there is something so charmingly clean about the trappings of our Fourth of July celebrations, in which ol’ Robbo has always taken a huge and simple delight.  Flags, fireworks and the musick of John Philip Sousa – what could one possibly dislike about them?  Also, we’ve driven so many other holidays into the ground through over-commercialization and tawdry sentimentality that it’s a pleasure to wallow in such wholesome, unblemished (well, except for what they’ve done to the celebration on the National Mall) fun.

Of course, there is the deeper meaning of the day as well.  And apropos of that, I will leave you with a linky to an excellent column over at First Things in which Rodney Howsare discusses the difference between true, responsible, reality-based freedom – which would have been readily understood by the Founding Fathers as critical to the health of our Nation- and the modern, puerile, nihilistic definition which poisons the fabric of society so thoroughly these days.

Don’t worry – I’m not leaving on a note of Doom.  I still believe in American Exceptionalism and I also believe that despair is a big no-no.   We’ll manage somehow.  So Happy Birthday, America!