Football and the Star Spangled Banner

Happy Holiday weekend Sunday, with well-wishes from our favorite guest columnist from north of our border.

Your Barrista -- Paul Curran

Your Barrista — Paul Curran

If We Were Having Coffee

Happy Independence Day!

Welcome to the weekly coffee and tea garden. Happy Holiday Weekend – Friday for Canadians and Monday for Americans. My name is Paul, I’ll be your barista today and I’m happy to be here at Mark Bialczak’s Little Bitty in Syracuse, New York. Please come in and go through to the living room. Mark, his wife Karen and their pooch Ellie B, have prepared a nice, air-conditioned, comfy place for us so I can tend to your needs for a cuppa, and sweets. The weather this morning is cloudy with a high just over 80 F. As usual, I’d be pleased to bring a pot of whatever beverage you prefer. We have a wide range of teas and coffees to satisfy our worldwide readership and adult beverages for those who wish something stronger. In addition we have a lovely raspberry iced tea in honor of Canada Day. We can relax with a cuppa in the air conditioning while we discuss the affairs of the week both personal and/or worldwide. Ellie likes to be patted, so please indulge her when she greets you. Have a piece of cake (or any of the sweets on the next table) – electronic sweets are all calorie-free! How has your week been? Are you enjoying the long weekend? Any special activities?

Canada Day Raspberry Tea


So my friend Frank dropped by with a cold drink last night. He was commenting on the great activity on Friday, Canada Day, on our street. When I came back from dialysis my bus could barely get up the street for the young folks celebrating. It was heartwarming, to me, although I heard others complaining but they complain about all the young folks. You know I was waiting on the porch for my ride to dialysis on Canada Day and I was having a chat with three Jamaican guys and a girl in bright colors, a few of which live next door. They were tall and thin and appeared in good physical shape. They had had a couple of beers but were walking and talking straight – just smiling a lot. In the street and on the steps of the buildings opposite were about 50 white all varsity university students – about 40 males and 10 females. They were all dressed in red university T-shirts and white shorts and were tossing footballs in the street. They had oodles of beer and BBQ’s and boom boxes, playing loud. The black guys had two cans of beer that they were sharing and a bright red patterned soccer ball.

Blimey, a Football!
If We Were Having Coffee

The youngest of the crew on my side was about 19 and the oldest about 22. The 19-year-old was kicking the ball a bit as they all watched the white guys.

He said: “Let’s see if we can get them to play a round with us.”

He took the ball with his feet and moved expertly over to the other side where he chatted with a few of the students. No interest. He seemed rather embarrassed and wove in between the others for a few minutes before returning with a shrug. I have to say I felt bad about it – surely with 50 students and him making the invitation, they would be considerate enough to play a short game, but no.

Young Man with Mediterranean Complexion


My faith in humanity was soon restored when an even younger man – about 17 came sauntering down the sidewalk. He was dressed in a black patterned long shirt that hung down to his thighs; he had a pair of jeans cut off at the knees and a pair of black and white plimsolls with no socks. With a Mediterranean complexion and dark wavy hair he looked exotic but laid back.

He stopped at the end of the walkway that leads to the steps where we were all sitting and asked: “Is that your ball?” indicting the soccer ball at the young man’s feet.

It is about 20 feet from the bottom step to the sidewalk and instead of replying the young black man flipped the ball toward the new guy. He jumped into the air and caught the ball with the side of his foot, behind his back, and it arched over his head, came down in front of him where he kicked it again before it touched the ground and it curved through the air to land directly in front of the ball owner and rolled gently to a stop exactly between his feet where it had started. There was a moment of silence and then a raucous cheering and hooting followed by jumping up and down and fist pumping by all bystanders. The young man smiled graciously and with a wave carried on with his walk.

So, Frank and I were chatting Saturday evening and he asked if I had seen the latest YouTube video that has gone viral. I had not, so he gave a bit of background. A young black woman was visiting the Lincoln Memorial this weekend when she was accosted by a roving TV crew who were trolling for human interest stories on this Independence Day weekend. She was visiting from out-of-town and was a teacher and a church chorister. They asked if she could sing and what songs. She chose to grace them with a version of the Star Spangled Banner. If you don’t read anything else in this post listen to this video – it will blow you away.

Happy Independence Day my American friends, please have another cuppa and pat Ellie B. Sweets anyone? Please join me in thanking Mark, Karen and Ellie B for their invitation to tea on this holiday weekend. We are all honored that you dropped by today to visit. I hope you’ve enjoyed yourself and the conversation and please look around at Mark’s other posts while you’re here. Have a great holiday and week.

Maple Flavored Bacon – Breakfast on Canada Day

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And for Later in the Day – Maple Canadian Whiskey

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15 thoughts on “Football and the Star Spangled Banner

  1. Morning Paul, a cuppa black this am please…There is much talent in the US and let me say most Americans are proud and very Patriotic! On my family vehicle is a plate of the American Flag (on the front) its adorned several vehicles in the past and will continue. There’s no where else I would rather live than the good old USA!!! Although, still on the 30 day vacay (home on the 5th), allowing my children to see and experience Italy, Greece and France I know they can not wait to get home. Have a great week. Gatorette.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good morning Gatorette, one cuppa black coming up! Indeed the US is,in my opinion, one of the best countries in the world. It is good that your kids have had a chance to see how others live. I am often critical of the US because it is a great country and therefore is held to higher standards ( and also swings more power than most other countries). I wish you and yours a very Happy Independence Day Gatorette and a safe return from your vacation.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice maple-intensive post Paul. On the Classic FM station (here in the UK) a caller requested a Canadian piece In honor of Canada Day. The station played Maple Leaf Rag by the definitely nonCanadian Scot Joplin.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha! We get a lot of that – confusion as to who and what Canada is, possibly because we are still trying to figure it out ourselves. 🙂 Thanks so much for dropping by Barb – a pleasure to have you read and comment. I did the big Maple close as so many do identify Maple Syrup as being Canadian and we export those two products and I personally consume them both – and find them unparalleled in quality. Thanks again for the visit Barb – I hope all is well in the old country.


    • No apologies needed, Paul. I posted your fine holiday column as soon as I awoke this morning. 🙂 I can picture the young man kicking that soccer ball to the feet of the startled group and you. Wow!


    • Hi ya Van! Thanks for dropping by. Oh, maple flavored bacon is ambrosia – almost as good as sex. ha! A pleasure to have you visit on this holiday weekend – please come by again.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Paul, Happy Independence Day! Wow, I’m blown away by the girl’s voice but I found my way back for the maple flavored bacon. Thanks Mark and Karen for your warm hospitality. It’s so good to see you again, Ellie – here’s a yummy piece of bacon (pat!pat!). ヾ(*ΦωΦ)ノ

    Liked by 1 person

  4. While I’m extremely proud to live in the good old USA, I must admit I find the 4th of July very hard to take, as well as the days leading up to it and several days after it, because Puppy Cody is terrified of all those pop-pops by the local people and then the boom-booms of the professional firework displays, along with that burnt gunfire smell. Going out anywhere takes someone braver than me what with all the 4th of July sales and everyone rushing to the next holiday party. I usually just stay in with the windows shut, the AC running, and Puppy Cody by my side while I play videogames. Nice peaceful day for me.

    Liked by 1 person

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