Do They Have The Fourth Of July In France?

A statistician made a few calculations and discovered that since the birth of our nation more lives had been lost in celebrating independence than in winning it.”
~Curtis Billings

Yes, I have been asked that question. Yes, they have the fourth of July here. They also have Cinco De Mayo. Go figure.

Now do they celebrate it is a different question. This year, they did. Or at least a select few did with me.

It happened that we needed to spend the night of July 4th at my mother-in-law’s house, as I had an interview in that area the next day and the wife had doctors appointments in the same area. And apparently, some weeks earlier, my wife had reminded her mother that July 4th was our Independence Day.

Apparently figuring (more or less correctly) that I might be missing my country a bit more than usual on that day, Gisele, my mother-in-law, decided that they were going to celebrate it with me. Overall, I’d call it a success.

Of course, if they were going to celebrate American independence, that meant they needed to have a barbecue. Except they didn’t have a barbecue. What they did have were a couple of small grills with electric heating coils, about the size of a ream of office paper, that were designed for kitchen use.  So these and an extension cord were run out to the patio to form our ‘barbecue’.

The food wasn’t Independence Day staples, but it was good.  Steak was replaced by some beef and chicken kebabs thrown on the grill, as well as a few spicy middle-eastern sausages commonly used in couscous.

They knew also that we would need alcohol to celebrate the fourth – thankfully, this is France. Serge proffered me a beer as is his habit lately any time I’m there, 4th of July or not. I’m not complaining. The rest of the evening my mother-in-law worked on a bottle of cheap pink wine.

I also fielded several questions regarding American history, including whether the 4th of July was ‘about’ the civil war or the revolutionary war. I also got asked what YEAR the 4th of July that we were celebrating was in. Somehow I managed to get it right (1776).

Overall, it wasn’t that different from an American 4th of July party. Sure, a lot of the details were different, but the idea was the same, and I found their gesture pretty charming and a bit touching. Gisele even tried a go at the national anthem.

The only thing we were missing was fireworks. Not that those are in short supply here; they’re very legal. It’s just that none of us thought to stop and pick some up.

So once again, we’re at the end, and I’m to tired to wrap this up cohesively. So consider it wrapped. Ciao.


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