Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Independence Day

Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. 

During the American Revolution, the legal separation of the Thirteen Colonies from Great Britain occurred on July 2, 1776, when the Second Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution of independence that had been proposed in June by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia declaring the United States independent from Great Britain.

While Independence Day is the national day of the United States and celebrates our separation from Great Britain, I still hold a fondness for our friends across the pond. So much so, I have even been referred to as an Anglophile. In honor of my endearment with England, I would like to repost a blog written back on December 14, 2009.

My Americanization Of Britain

In 1964 the film “The Americanization of Emily” was released. “Emily” starred James Garner and Julie Andrews. Set in London, in 1944, the film is based on a novel by William Bradford Huie, a former naval officer and aide to an Admiral during World War II. In 2005 I joined Pogo, a gaming website that offers a variety of casual games, ranging from card and board games to puzzle, sports, and word games. While playing, you are able to “chat” with people from all over the world. That is where I met a lovely lady from the U.K. named Bev.

That is when I first embarked upon my Americanization of Britain.

And it hasn’t been a small undertaking. Not by any stretch of the imagination. This ambitious endeavor not only includes the Americanization of Bev. Nope, it has branched to the rest of her family and a couple of her friends.

No big deal you say? Well, Bev’s family is nothing to sneeze at. Her parents, Alfie and Elsie, obviously had a favorite hobby. The results of their hobby were Sue, Margaret, Hazel, Christine, Carol, Beryl, Donald, Barry, Keith, David and Debbie. In that order.

Where is Bev you ask? Bev’s given name is Beryl, sibling number six of eleven. She might be the middle child, but she compensates for it with an abundance of nicknames. She is also Doris. And Bell. And B. And Coops. You get the picture.

Over the years Bev and I have become dear friends. I have gotten to know a lot of her family and have no less than fifteen of them as facebook “friends.”

The language barrier was the first bridge to cross. In England, football is soccer and soccer is also soccer. In America, football is football and soccer is soccer. We still struggle with that one.

Then there are chips and crisps. Okay, pay attention. The British call French fries, chips. They call potato chips, crisps. I am having more success Americanizing Bev’s family in this regard.

This was made obvious one night when Bev’s daughter Louise asked her if she could speak to me on Skype. Bev said sure. Louise sat down in front of the computer, said hi and told me that she had just been to McDonald’s. I asked her what she had.

Her reply made me grin.

With a big smile, the pretty young Brit said she had a burger and a milk shake. She then paused, and proudly added, “And French Fries!”

My hard work was beginning to pay off.

Other inroads in my effort to Americanize include providing Bev’s husband, an electrician, with an American-style nickname of his very own. He is now commonly referred to as “Sparky”.

Bev’s enchanting eldest sister Sue has become a regular reader of this very blog, leaving comments on a consistent basis. She is a big fan of my tales of Koos, especially when they involve the legendary Arno.

I have also introduced the Brits to my favorite sport teams, the Green Bay Packers and the Milwaukee Brewers. Bev loves it when I email videos to her of Brewer home runs at Miller Park, so she can see Bernie Brewer descend down his slide. She insists on calling him “Barney”.

Bev’s charming baby sister Debbie is another member of her family that I have become good friends with. Here, my attempts at Americanization are aimed mostly at Debbie and husband Scott’s rambunctious son, Jake.

Jake loves sports. On weekends he plays football (soccer) one day and rugby on the other. If that wasn’t enough, he swims competitively two days a week and has Judo on another. With this daunting schedule, it’s amazing that Debbie has any time for games on Pogo.

Back to the Americanization of young Jake. This past Saturday, Bev had a family get-together at her house. The function served two purposes. Not only was it a Christmas party but it also celebrated Jake’s eighth birthday. He was born on Christmas Eve, so in her infinite wisdom, Bev decided to combine both of the events at one time.

Bev had graciously extended an invitation to me, but unfortunately my schedule prevented me from attending the festive bash. Not wanting to be rude, I did however mail a present to the guest of honor.

If the pictures below are any indication, it looks as if he enjoyed the gifts that I had sent to him. Quite American, don’t you think? It goes without saying that Jake is clearly the coolest kid in England.
A British Packer fan
Prince has a fan "across the pond"
My efforts to Americanize Britain aren’t finished, not by a long shot. I think my next venture will be to have them consolidate all the different things for which they use the word “piss”. Don’t even ask.

Have a happy and safe Fourth, everyone! Make sure you do all four polls if you have not. Until next time…from the booth.

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