Here’s the problem of living in a small town that grows by a few hundred people in the summer. For most of the year we hang out with folks we’ve come to know and sort of tolerate — maybe even love. It’s not that our neighbors are necessarily wonderful human beings, but that over time we have learned all their quirks and foibles.
Then from May to September we get a whole new batch of visitors and we have to learn their quirks and foibles. Some are seasonal residents, people we’ve got used to over the years. Most visitors drop in for a few days and then move on. You can pretty much tell it’s tourist season when you go to a restaurant and realize you don’t know anyone other than the waitress.
It’s kind of cool to see new faces, particularly when they come from exotic, far-off lands — you know, places in America where they might have a sense of fashion and don’t dress out of the front rack at the thrift store. Some visitors come from genuine foreign countries and don’t say “Gesundheit” if you say “Brexit.”
Which, by the way, has become a hot topic. That’s British Exit, the vote on if the United Kingdom should leave the European Union. “Leave” won by a few percentage points. The Betster admits to being amused by how Britain got into a dither over whether or not it should depart a political association it had joined willingly.
Uh, hello? At least the Brits got to vote. Two-hundred and forty years ago when America wanted to leave its political association with Britain, the divorce got a little nasty. If the Colonists had been able to hold an election in 1776, we could have had a peaceful dissolution. Maybe we would have worked out a deal where we got our freedom but remained part of a commonwealth, sort of like Canada, only with a president.
Well, we’re all jolly good friends now, we Americans and Brits. The Revolution still remains a big deal, which is why you get a three-day weekend and there will be lots of parades (three, at last count) on Monday. Liberty doesn’t come cheap and requires constant vigilance.
So wave the flag, put on your big Uncle Sam hat, fire up the barbecue and celebrate this glorious experiment we call the United States, perhaps with some of these cool Best Bets:
BEST FIRST AMENDMENT BET: That would be the one that lets us be as creative as possible. See how Alaska artists exercise that right with First Friday art openings. For all the details, see page 8.
BEST SHOUT OUT BET: Here’s another First Amendment exercise, the opening of Pier One Theatre’s “Rosencranz and Guildenstern Are Dead,” written by Tom Stoppard. Based on two minor characters from Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” the action takes place in the wings of the play. It opens at 7 :30 p.m. Friday at the little red theater on the Spit.
BEST OTHER SIDE BET: Seldovia has had a whopping good Fourth of July celebration since the days when Homer was just a long cabin post office at Bishop’s Beach. Even though Seldovia is a bit smaller these days, the town doubles in population this weekend. The weekend includes softball games, craft fairs, music, a king salmon tournament, the 5k Salmon Shuffle and the big event, the parade at 11 a.m. on July 4. This year’s theme is “Celebrating Weather.”
BEST THIS SIDE BET: Not to be outdone, Anchor Point has its own Fourth of July parade, too. It starts at 11:30 a.m. on the Anchor Point Road, the road to the beach. Homer has its own Fourth of July schedule, too. Chow down for lunch from noon-3 p.m. for the Homer Elks Lodge 36th annual barbecue and scholarship raffle. From 2-5 p.m. bikers can decorate their pedal-powered rides at NOMAR. Then at 6 p.m. the big parade starts, heading west on Pioneer Avenue from Heath Street to the highway.
BEST INTO THE PARK BET: There’s an entire world across the bay in Kachemak Bay State Park. With all the inlets and small bays, it can get a bit confusing for people new to town. Want to take a hike with someone who knows the lay of the land? Check out the monthly Kachemak Bay State Park guided hikes from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, starting from the Homer Harbor. Call 907-226-4689 for more details.