Tomorrow is the 4th of July, a day most San Franciscans hope will gain independence from fog. Me, I just hope it’s a day where I gain more independence from the fog of funk that looms after midnight.
That’s because twenty-two years ago my dad was diagnosed with cancer, and on July 3, a few months after his diagnosis, he entered the hospital, never to come out.
I just can’t write about the 4th without referencing him. Not just because he died a few days later, but because we were hoping he would be okay to host that 4th of July, his very favorite holiday and day of the year. Instead, we spent it at Kaiser, in a state of sadness and shock.
My 4th of July Post from two years back best describes how he spent that day every year until the end:
“My dad was never big on holidays and like Jslow, didn’t like to be the center of attention. But be the center of attention he was on the 4th in his own low-key way. He grilled dogs and burgers on his trusty rusty Weber, Hamm’s in one hand, tongs in the other. He policed the hand-crank ice cream maker in the garage, making sure we all took at least one hundred turns. He ran backyard bingo, rewarding winners with giant zucchinis he grew in our garden, wrapped in bright red ribbons. He erected our rickety ladder at the curb so Uncle Jerry could light fireworks, and handed out punks so we could ignite snakes in the gutter.”
“The front and back yards of our modest ranch house in Fremont overflowed with friends and family and laughter… I hug those memories tight.”
The photo up top is of me and my dear friend Kelly, circa 4th of July 1990, in that Fremont backyard, watching my dad do his thing. (Kell looks like she’s about to blurt out, B I N G O!) I won’t see her tomorrow because she’s in Chicago watching the Dead, but it makes me happy that we are still dear friends and will be for every 4th to come.
And although my dad is long gone, I am here, and will honor him by making this day the best it can be for me. It may not involve zucchinis or bingo, but it will involve coffee with Luanne, candy with Diane (owner of the Candy Store just off Polk – the best candy store of all time), scouring Cris Consignment for the perfect summer trench, and capping it all with an evening spent with my brother, husband and cats. Fog is forecast, but you know what? My fog is slowly but surely lifting a little bit with each passing year. I may never experience an Independance Day from some fog of sadness, but at least I can see the fireworks at the end of the tunnel.
And shopping for 4th of July-inspired stuff always helps!
Have a great 4th of July from Blank Stare, Blink.
1. Cast of Vices beer bottle cap necklace, Ahalife. 2. Au Jour De Jour ice cream dress, Farfetch. 2. Venessa Arizaga “Baby got snacks” bracelet, Boutique1. 4. Moschino Cola pumps, Luisaviaroma. 5. Joshua Sanders “food” skate sneakers, Lane Crawford. 6. Moschino soda pop cap, Luisaviaroma. 7. Filles a Papa sequined hot dog sweatshirt, Farfetch. 8. Cheeseburger canvas bag, Zazzle.