In July 2005 Dan and I traveled all over Scandinavia and surrounds, including St. Petersburg (as I prattled on about in my blog of September 18, 2012 ) and Tallinn, Estonia. As luck would have it we were in Tallinn for that most American of all holidays, the 4th of July. We were so far north that we had daylight around the clock and absolutely beautiful weather.
As we came off the ship, the delightful Estonian mascot, Creepy Thing, met us at the dock. No, I have no idea who or what he was supposed to be.
We had a great day in the picturesque city, including a lovely lunch where Dan almost learned how to use a fish knife.
The downside of lunch was that I couldn’t do any good eavesdropping because the people at the other tables refused to speak English other than to wish us a happy Independence Day. We were very touched by their good wishes as well as whatever the hell we ate for lunch.
When we returned to the ship that evening we were greeted with all kinds of festivities. You may have already guessed that I loved the karaoke club on the ship. Dan was just delighted when I dragged him down there yet again. All of the Americans were getting extra toasted and waving around the little American flags the ship had given everyone, but only about 40% of the passengers were American. Everyone else was quite content to have an excuse to drink (as if they needed one) and times were merry.
Sometime around 11:00 that evening, some slobbering drunk called all the Americans to the stage and put on the song “American Pie.” Dan stayed at the table all the way in the back but of course I was the first to run out there. There had to have been 30 of us on the stage, arm in arm, swaying and singing every word of the song at the top of our lungs.
I have to admit that I’m one of those people who gets all choked up when I hear the National Anthem, but that evening as we sang about good ole’ boys drinkin’ whiskey and rye, I had never felt so proud to be an American. I’ve also never felt as suffocated by drunken smelly people as I was that night, but thanks to Don McLean all was forgiven.
When I got back to the table, flushed and breathless, it appeared that Dan had nodded off. It must have been the fish at lunch. So Don, thanks not only for the sad but amazing rock and roll anthem, but for a versatile lullaby as well. Happy 4th of July to all, and to all a good night!