The first 4th of July party I can remember attending was a gathering of the American expatriates and locals at the American Embassy in Ankara. The food, the flag, the fireworks, and the requisite trappings of a 4th of July event made no lasting impression upon me. But there was one aspect of that celebration that did make an impression, forever shaping my idea of what a proper 4th of July was supposed to include.
A few years would pass, years that always have a fourth day during the month of July, but whatever happened on those dates left no lasting memory. Finally, when I was in second grade or thereabouts, on the 4th of July, in Los Angeles, the essential element of the 4th of July re-surfaced. Finally, someone had the right idea about what the 4th of July was all about.
And that was a ride on a camel. The 4th of July isn’t about barbeques and potato salad, displays of patriotism, the rockets’ red glare, or The Star Spangled Banner. Not for me, it isn’t. It’s about camels.
A 4th of July celebration just isn’t complete without a ride on a camel. Now, I could easily swing past Morelia’s Benito Juarez zoo to see a camel any day of the week, but that’s just not the same. Riding a camel makes a 4th of July authentic.