One of our traditions here at the Coulter house is the Annual 4th of July Chili Dog Festival, an event that evolved years ago after we moved into an historic neighborhood within close walking distance of an excellent community fireworks display. Our driveway became a coveted parking spot, and each year we would find as many as 40 people milling around on our patio, clutching their folded-up lawn chairs and looking at their watches and wondering if it was about time to "head on over there."
Since we never knew quite how many people to expect and because we usually spent the morning at a parade and didn't want to rush home and make buckets of potato salad, we decided early on that hot dogs and chips were the way to go. So later today we'll be chopping onions, counting hotdog buns, chilling soft drinks, and opening bags of chips--keeping it simple for the crowd that will begin arriving at seven o'clock.
I wasn't planning to work today, but I've yet to finish the three chapters I promised to mail to my editor on Saturday. So I'll be here at my desk almost until our company begins arriving.
The book I'm working on (At His Command, which will be released in September 2008) happens to be a military story. It's set in and around a fictional Army base in Texas, and features a disabled former helicopter pilot who's become an attorney and an Army nurse who's just returned from a Combat Support Hospital in the Middle East. Since I don't know beans about helicopters, the law, nursing, or the Army, I've been killing myself to research this stuff.
So here it is, Independence Day, and while everyone else is watching parades and waving flags, I'm sitting in front of my computer trying to figure out why Chapter Three still seems to be dragging. But as I said, this is a military story, so in my research I've come across a plethora of stories about the courage and sacrifice of real-life members of the armed forces, particularly helicopter pilots and Army nurses. Many of those people won't be sitting on patios tonight eating chili dogs and waiting for the fireworks show because they're busy doing their jobs--and I'd just like to express my gratitude to them and to all of those who have gone before and will come after them.
God has blessed America. May He continue to do so.