hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA


July 3, 2014

Independence Day -- a time to reflect

Happy Independence Day!

So what are you doing this July 4th? Getting the grill fired up? Taking in some fireworks in your community? Festivals? Or feeling patriotic in your own private way by catching a few extra winks?

We all need an occasional hiatus from our jobs, whether it’s one holiday or another. For some, it will be just another day at the office because it’s the only time we have to catch up on the backload.

My grandchildren will invade the camp, all six of them, along with their parents. The premises will never be the same, but what the heck. Their independence is mine. They particularly enjoy the fireworks reflecting off the lake at night.

A friend of mine owned a place on the shores of Lake Ossipee in a town called Freedom, N.H., which traces its name to an act of rebellion.

Come to find out, there are at least 15 places in America named Freedom. Some are too small to host their own Fourth of July celebrations.

I remember getting busted in junior high school for selling fire crackers. I lived in Somerville at the time and crossed the border into Charlestown to purchase my arsenal.

The pickings were vast. Cherry bombs? Roman candles? An aerial barrage? How about some skyburst rockets?

Business became pleasure until the principal was notified and I was summoned into the office. My parents were called to join me.

“Your son is about to blow up the school,” they reported. “We do not tolerate this kind of behavior.”

Hey, I was looking to make an extra buck or two. No malice intended, honest. Long story short, they let me off the hook, provided I did some community service.

I grew up under the yoke of oppression. My country of Armenia was governed by Soviet rule. We played by their rules, not ours.

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