I spent my summers with my grandparents when I was a child. We enjoyed Independence Day frugally by watching the fireworks at the park. I always felt guilty because my dad had convinced me that if I received any pleasure from the “pagan” holidays, I would die in Armageddon. It didn’t stop me from enjoying the colors and explosions.
My first true summer in Salt Lake came when I was seventeen. I had gotten a job at K-Mart that year, so Stacey went to Billings, Montana without me. I stayed in Salt Lake. I went dancing at The Ritz. I worked on Pioneer Day.
The other employees complained. They thought that we should be closed on Pioneer Day. I thought they were stupid. Pioneer Day didn’t exist in Montana. July 24th was just another day. It might be a little too hot and we might get a Popsicle on that day, but that was the extent of celebration that Billings, Montana had for Pioneer Day. Days of ’47 was something that happened on those Utah television stations in Billings.
I worked on the 24th of July and I had no problem with it. It was just another day to me. We sold a lot of hogi sandwiches heavy with onion and banana peppers. Other than that, it was a pretty slow day. I didn’t mind being there. It was just another day to me, except that there were fireworks at some of the parks.
It’s like that for me now. I make sure to celebrate the day with Mike. We don’t let the holiday go by without setting off some fireworks. We like to watch the fireworks from our house. If we stand in the street, we have the perfect view of Liberty Park’s show. Other than that, I don’t do much of anything else. There’s a big parade that I ignore. There’s a rodeo that I abhor. There’s probably lots more, but it all passes me by.
Happy Days of ’47, to the rest of the world! Utah is celebrating itself while you have to have a hot summer day. Sure, you have your Christmas in July, but how can that compare with obligatory parades and rope-bound cattle?