Man, What a Great Country We Live In! Reflections on an Awesome 4th of July
by Scott Schaefer
Man, what a great country we live in!
It was a very awesome 4th of July for many, especially this Reporter, who was fortunate enough to have spent the day in two fantastic Burien locations – my own neighborhood, where I was crowned “King of Three Tree Point” (in absentia! More about that later), and as a participant in the 91st annual Independence Day Parade, where I got to ride in the cockpit of the historic Miss Burien hydro!
The 4th started for me and my family with the annual 3TP community breakfast, which is hosted by neighbors the Tennants and Ginters, right on the water on SW 172nd Street. Luckily the sun came out early, smiling down on all neighbors, friends, newcomers and visitors, including some of our cousins visiting from Mexico. Great food is cooked outside by volunteers who make enough to feed over 300 people!
Afterwards, it was back home to continue preparations for the remainder of the day. Then at 1:30 p.m. it was down to Murray and Julie Dows‘ house for the annual Flag Raising Ceremony. For the last 25 years this event has been hosted by Bob and Jane Cancro, who decided to take a break this year; luckily the Dows stepped up. Emceed by neighbor Andy Kleitsch, this was a fun and patriotic event that kicked off with a great parody cover of “Baby It’s Cold Outside” performed by Kleitsch and Ashley Fosberg, Executive Director of the Highline Schools Foundation.
We met new neighbors, who showed off their best dance moves, the flag was raised and we sang the national anthem – then my wife and I took off because we had to get up in line for the Independence Day Parade in downtown Burien, which was scheduled to start in less than an hour.
It wasn’t until I got a phone call from my Fireworks Fund Co-Chair Laura Beth Peterson some 30 minutes later that I found out that if I hadn’t have left then, I would’ve been crowned the new “King” of Three Tree Point, along with her as Queen! Our duties would be to lead a children’s procession down SW 172nd wearing handmade crowns (her husband Scott Peterson stepped in for me). It’s a great community honor and I hope I didn’t let my new subjects down.
Instead, I was waiting for the Independence Day Parade with some fellow Discover Burien members next to the historic Miss Burien hydroplane. We discussed our marching strategy, and I halfheartedly joked to the hydro towing driver that it’d sure be cool to ride in the cockpit during the parade. He nodded “yes, you could do that if you want,” much to my surprise, and minutes later we were heading south down Ambaum Blvd. SW with ME behind the wheel! I waved (and yes, my arms still hurt – parade waving is hard work) and did my best to get the crowd going about this cool boat I was sitting in. The only rules I had to follow were “don’t touch any buttons or switches” which I didn’t – perhaps for good reason – check out this photo of the dashboard of the Miss Burien (click image to see larger version):
In the meantime, back in 3TP, the kids’ carnival games, hosted by Greg and Rhonda Dill, had begun. This is a favorite of my clan, along with Dills’ great Treasure Hunt on the beach for coins (metal detectors are not allowed – just young fingers and the eagerness to dig), and I’m sorry I wasn’t there to witness the joy and exuberance of my kids and our younger neighbors as they dug up the Dill treasures.
It was a very busy, sunny, clear-blue, magical Northwest day, and I was having a heck of a time! So at that very moment I just had to sit (in the very cozy cockpit of course while speeding along the parade route at around 5MPH) and reflect – there I was, in the drivers’ seat of a historic hydroplane (and excellent marketing tool) that really put the name “Burien” on the map around 50 years ago. I was newly-crowned King of 3TP, knowing that as I rode through the parade (my wife had to walk and pass out printed B-Town Blog Coupons – sorry about that Theresa!), having helped raise over $25,000 to fund our ‘hood’s barge-based fireworks show, I was somehow more than a spectator as I have been in years past – I was now part of the fabric of a fantastic, festive day in two different neighborhoods of a great city!
Man, what a great country we live in!