The Dumpster Chronicles 13: 4th of July

The Dumpster Chronicles: A Whimsical and Irreverent Guide to Nantucket, Being Part 13

‘4TH OF JULY’ OR AS IT IS KNOWN IN THE U.K., ‘THANKSGIVING’
By Kerry Hallam

In 1775, which from all reports was not entirely to the liking of the settlers in the New World, there was trouble afoot and also a yard, which was before decimalization.

The British Government back in England, never behind the door when it came to squeezing the lifeblood out of the colonies, had been charging America for the use of it’s currency, taxing almost everything that was not tied down, and generally being a real pain in the pantaloons.

Not surprisingly, this did not sit well with the folks on the East Coast who wanted to do their own thing free of the crippling constraints of the Big Boys in London.

Things came to a head when the Brits decided to not only charge America for the currency they were using, but also for the tea which they were drinking. Now this was the last straw and Starbucks very quickly came to the rescue with their own brand of tea which was, in fact, coffee, but it did look like tea.

It is well documented that one evening, a group of rowdy sailors started throwing bags of tea into the Boston Harbor as a protest. Like many of history’s best stories, this one is not entirely accurate. It was not the sailors but the wives who threw the bags as a protest against their husbands general lack of interest in family life. The bags contained not tea, but marijuana (buds only).

Regardless, the bong of independence was well and truly lighted and at a secret meeting, Congress decided to take the Jefferson bypass, thus allowing a lateral sideways sweep to goal. Independence was declared and merrymaking began.

John Adams, in a letter to his wife Abigail “not tonight I have a headache” Adams described the scene: “Pomp and parade; game shows; American Idol; guns, bells and illuminations. I will be late back tonight so don’t wait up”.

It took fifteen years for the fourth of July to become officially Independence Day. Fifteen years to enact legislation may seem ridiculous to us now, but Congress moved a lot faster in those days.


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Kerry Hallam was born and raised in the North of England. He was elected to the Royal Society of Artists and later established his first studio in the South of France. Kerry has lived and painted on the island for the past thirty years. He is represented internationally by Chalk and Vermilion of Greenwich, and has held extensive one man shows in the States, Japan, France and the U.K. His autobiography ‘Getting to Nantucket’ was recently published, and in the past few years, he has issued seven C.D.’s of own written and performed music. All illustrations are by Kerry Hallam. This column will appear regularly.

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