We love our baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and. …
Way back in the Stone Age (that would be circa 1974 into 1975), a car commercial touted their brand being as American as baseball, hot dogs, and apple pie. Baseball is often referred to as the American sport, there is probably nothing more “homey” than mom’s apple pie sitting on the windowsill cooling, and I guess a hot dog could be considered America’s food, although they are also referred to as frankfurters, giving a nod to the city in Germany. Well, the same goes for the hamburger.
The ad pictured images of people enjoying what appeared to be the American dream, spending time at home, perhaps on the big July holiday, with family and friends chowing down at the family barbeque, playing, or watching baseball, enjoying a hot dog or two while admiring their new car.
If you want a feel-good check, Google, “Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet.” The commercial is low tech, a bit corny and quirky by today’s standards, but it reminds us of what used to be. Not that the world was void of problems then either. Vietnam was still a depressing news topic and political bickering and racial strife certainly prevailed. But back then, many agreed to disagree and then moved on. It was just a different era.
It was back in a time when family gatherings were a bigger deal than they seem to be today. People were given the time off to be with their loved ones and outings and picnics were almost legendary. Most retail stores were closed on Sundays and holidays and factories often provided long weekends or even did a plant shut down for one or two weeks so that brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, first cousins, second cousins, even cousins twice removed could gather to celebrate together. Unfortunately, for many today, work takes a precedence over such events. We either don’t take the time or have the time to spend to simply, have some fun.
Towns and cities would plan parades and local events such as pie eating contests, races for both young and old, carnivals, fairs, baking contests and bicycle parades (remember getting that old Schwinn decked out in all its glory) all before the grand finale and big kahuna, the fireworks display. What kid didn’t look forward to fireworks on the Fourth of July, once we got past the scared-out-of-our-britches-hands-over-our-ears noise?
A July 3, 1968, edition of the then Nashua Telegraph posted an ad from a local furniture retailer, Dionne’s Furniture, 39 Elm Street, showing the Liberty Bell and advising they would be closed for the holiday. But, despite the political and social issues of the time, the text in that ad reflected the mood of the Gate City and perhaps the rest of the nation: “With the Liberty Bell as a symbol, the sound of freedom rings anew throughout our land as we observe Independence Day. On this day we commemorate the courage and determination of our forefathers and rededicate ourselves to their principles. Let freedom ring, this is our prayer and our pledge, the heart and spirit of our American way of life. On July 4th, we celebrate with joy, in a holiday mood of happiness, and with solemnity, in affirmation of the message of freedom.”
I’ve written past columns with the theme, “Let’s bring it back,” talking of things we should bring back that were popular in the past but are not so popular today.
So, I propose, “Let’s bring it back!” Put social media on the back burner for a day. Get the family together, fire up the grill, dust off that old baseball glove and bat, or put the Sox on the tube and forget about the world for one day. Enjoy each other. The rest of the world will still be there for us all to worry about the next day. You’ll have plenty of time to get back to that rat race.
Yup, we’ve got our problems here in America just like everywhere else, but in the grand scheme of things and given the circumstances, still not a bad place to be. Happy birthday America!
Have a safe and happy 4th!
Don Canney is a freelance writer and professional voice artist. He was born and raised in downtown Nashua with great interest in Nashua history circa 1950-1970. He now resides in Litchfield.