We spent part of our July 4th tuned into one of Independence Day's fasting growing traditions. We watched the Nathan's hotdog eating contest at Coney Island. Defending champion Joey Chesnut came through in a tight contest, shoving (literally) 59 hotdogs down his throat in 10 minutes. He eats 59 hotdogs in 10 minutes to earn only a tie and force an overtime eat-off with Takeru Kobayashi, a six time champion of the event. The eat-off consisted of a race between the two eaters to see who could finish 5 additional hotdogs the quickest. Chesnut was the victor - meaning he ate 64 hotdogs in less than 11 minutes. It is amazing just how little imagination it requires to understand how disgusting that is.
The event would be otherwise unimportant, at least as far as this blog is concerned, except that Elliott finished his first complete sandwich while the contest was going on. He ate a whole slice of toasted bread smothered with apricot jam, which I find at least as disgusting as inhaling 60 hotdogs, but he celebrated like he too was standing center stage at Coney Island. The confidence he gained from this victory inspired him to eat his first bites of hamburger later on for dinner. That's an eating accomplishment I can support.
We ventured to the center of town yesterday to watch the 4th of July parade. It was a simple parade made up of various like groups of dogs, bicycles and a senior citizen group doing some sort of synchronized dance with lawn chairs. Of course each group was decked in red, white and blue. Elliott enjoyed clapping and waving as each performance passed by. He had his own little American flag which he proudly displayed high above his head as the parade passed us by.
I know he is too young to be "proud to be an American". But I spent a great deal of the day thankful that I am and feeling blessed that my son is. If you have even a limited awareness of the depressed conditions so many children are born into the world over, it is impossible not to be thankful for the opportunities Elliott will have just by being American. We live in an age where most of the news coverage and office talk revolves around the declining conditions of our country. But I'm here to tell you, this nation on the worst day of its 230 plus years has never seen one day of what many children will live in the rest of their lives. I thank God for the hope my children will have because of that flag Elliott so proudly waved yesterday, and I commit to helping him understand that pride with each passing 4th of July.
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