To the editor: I see that Chestertown and Rock Hall have resolved the age-old tussle of who does what on which day or night of the July 4th holiday, with Chestertown simply opting out altogether. This is just fine with me.

Now we have a place for a nice, quiet three-day weekend. Throw some veggie burgers on the table-top George Foreman, pop a couple of chilled kambuchas and click on “Masterpiece.” That’s the way to spend the Fourth.

Rock Hall is so 1958. They’ve got that goofy parade where you put a lawn chair on 156-degree pavement to watch sweaty little kids, sitting on the tailgate of some classic pick-up, hurling fistfuls of Sam’s Club candy into rows of flag-waving onlookers. And they’re all smiling.

How ignorantly dangerous. (And what, may I ask, is a classic pick-up?) How Neanderthal. How Rock Hall.

And then there’s the fireworks. Rock Hall seems to be the only town where the fire company sponsors fireworks as a fundraiser and then has to spend most of the money just raised putting out the fire just ignited by that wobbly chrysanthemum shell that burst with a beautiful splash, but then the flaming “petals” blew back over the town.

Oh well, this little intermission means more time to pound down Bud Lights at the Bulkhead.

It’s like Chestertown’s Christmas light transformation. Right after the crippling civic embarrassment known far and wide as “The Great Frosty Smackdown,” of which, here, I shall not jot another lurid detail, Chestertown stepped up to show the world what eco-friendly “seasonal illumination” is all about.

What’s left of the “business district” was festooned with strings of LED lights that emit a feeble glimmer the shade of a lemon-lime sno-cone. How soothing. Out with the piercing red and green. It’s such a stressful time of year.

Yes, Chestertown once again scores big in my book. It has finally dropped the curtain on what was once one of the premier and entirely wasteful, egregiously toxic pyrotechnic shows on the East Coast. So spectacular it was that the residual sulfur ash wiped out whole generations of pet hamsters

Now, 2021: three days of nothing. Sheer bliss. And cleansed of the patriotism that once gripped the town.

Yes, back in the day, according to local storytellers, olde Chestertown showed flashes of patriotic fervor with its own tea tax revolt, which was later celebrated annually with re-enactments and funnel-cakes up until a couple of years ago, Now, with a little help from the Wuhan Institute of Virology that’s all smartly been shelved. Such a relief.

What was once a cradle of liberty, has transformed itself into an engine of social innovation. And Chestertown is out front with the Fourth of the Future.

No Tots’ Parade down High Street with grinning kids earnestly pedaling their tricycles all dolled-up with strips of crepe paper woven between the spokes. No fireworks high over the mighty Chester, no show of flags and bunting. No brass band concert in the park, with folks swinging their picnic baskets to the tune of “Semper Fidelis.” No corny speeches, no ox roast, crab feast or fish fry. No speedboat races, no air show, no parachute jump. No hot dog-eating contest. No prizes — of course, no prizes — for anything.

They couldn’t even gin up a sidewalk sale. The only sign of it being a holiday of any kind this year in Chestertown was that on the Fourth itself JJ’s Liquors ran out of ice.

Rock Hall had a drive-thru pit beef sale at the Legion Post; C-town didn’t even have a food truck. Ah, the joy of it all.

J. Taylor Buckley

Broad Neck

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