Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Star Spangled Syndrome*

Before reading a word I have to say, you must bear in mind what my own mother told me on the phone last weekend: “You do not deserve any sympathy at all!” She has always suspected I am out of my mind, but this week confirmed it (again). Many times she has heard me declare adamantly that I’m not going to throw any more humongous parties at my house, but then with the slightest twist of the arm, I’m off half-cocked, planning and inviting.

Erroneously thinking we would have a smallish group this year, I sent out invitations for a 4th of July program and picnic. A friend in another town had actually agreed to host it at her house, but then friends persuaded me to have it here like we have in the past. One thing led to another, and before I knew it, we had 80 people confirmed to attend, and I was sending poor dh out to rent tables, chairs, and revival-tent-like tarps in case it rained.

Aside from immediate family (ahem!), you might say that delegating is not my strong suit. Anyway, besides organizing and hosting the event, doing most of the decorating, I also led music and became the square dance instructor. Yep. Maybe my mother is right. The next day I stayed in bed until way past 7:00 A.M. vowing not to say a word of complaint to Mom, though she would have been sympathetic in spite of herself.

In all, though, I’d have to admit it was well worth the effort. Over 100 people showed up, including several carloads of friends of a friend I was not expecting. It’s always good to have an excuse to have lots of friends over, sing patriotic songs, pray for our nation, shoot off fireworks (sweet revenge to be making all the racket for a change), and of course enjoy a taste of Americana -- KFC, baked beans, brownies, etc. For one day in the year, we can chunk the diet, be proud Americans, and not apologize for our country.

Did any of you find a way to celebrate the 4th of July? I’d love to hear about it.

I’m also curious whether any of you suffers from a certain ex-pat phenomenon where the “Star Spangled Banner” gives you goose bumps and puts a lump in your throat so big you can’t sing? Being a bit of a crybaby myself (remember the “Wedding March” and “Pomp and Circumstance”?), I actually get tears when I try to sing the national anthem or “America the Beautiful.” Even the Pledge of Allegiance sort of gets me. Anyone else?

IRL* I’m insisting to my unbelieving mom that I most definitely am (probably) NOT organizing a ladies’ retreat this summer, no matter what people say!* I wish I could remember which of my international friends first coined this phrase [Star Spangled Syndrome], so I could give her credit. It’s not original.


  1. What a funny story. "Several carloads of friends of a friend (you were) not expecting!" I love it!

    Yes, I suffer from Star Spangled Syndrome. My eyes misted over last Monday as I listened to my son re-reading the Declaration of Independence while I made potato salad. We had a SMALL (8 Americans, 2 Turks) picnic in the forest, grilled hamburgers and played with sparklers. (no fireworks)

  2. We had a great time at fellow missionaries' house, just hanging, eating as American as possible, listening to patriotic tunes, and watching the kids fill out some worksheets and color pages. It was fun.

    I even tried my hand at homemade baked beans using my Gram's "recipe" (a little of this, a little of that). They worked! AND this year nobody brought tacos! It was a bit chilly (8500 feet during rainy season) but that didn't stop anybody from having a blast!

  3. The funniest part was that the extra guests didn't speak English. Ever tried translating square dance terms into another language? However they brought LOTS of Mexican food and three large canisters of homemade sherbet.

    Thanks for admitting your ailment (SSS). I knew I wasn't alone in this. I wish we had found sparklers. I'm not a big fan of explosives of any kind.

  4. Good for you, Beth, for celebrating and for attempting baked beans. I cheated and used five cans I had dh bring down last time he was in the U.S. for meetings. Then I add all the good stuff to make them fabulous. What kind of beans did you use?

    No tacos?! Hehe. We did have tostadas, but no tacos here either.

    Our 4th was actually cooler than our Christmas party. No complaints from me!

  5. Oh Jamie, I am the daughter of a patriot and have SSS and don't apologize for kids now are surprised if I DON'T cry!

    Your big bash sounds huge...not my cup of tea but it sounds like you had a lot of fun! You have a year to think up how you will do the next one...


  6. That's sweet, Fern (Were you the one who coined the expression???)

    Shhh, and don't tell, but generally I plan a great escape every other year. Likely I'll be in the U.S. next July to visit the kids and GRANDCHILD, following your example.

  7. We had fun making monkey bread and meeting other American missioanry friends at a small river near our house for a picnic BBQ.

  8. Nice, Susan! I like hearing that groups of Americans were gathering all over the world.

  9. I DEFINITELY have Star Spangled Syndrome. And How Great Thou Art Syndrome too. :)

  10. We found ourselves unexpectedly in Canada for Canada Day. My "Oh Canada" syndrome is great, just to tease me and watch me cry my kids sing it as soon as we cross the border. But my 7 year old took in her first Canadian Parade, it was so different from the Mexican ones. No army trucks with machine guns and no gang fights!

  11. And a belated Happy Canada Day to you! Now that I have a Canadian ddil, and hopefully someday I'll have some Canadian grandchildren.

    Either way, U.S. or Canadian, it is a rather quiet one compared to our Mexican celebrations, eh? (I put the "eh" in there for you. Hehe)


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