A Diamond’s Eye View of the World

a multi-faceted look at the middle east, and the middle west

freedom from (or is that to …?) want

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on July 8, 2008

Did you post about the Independence Day parade? my father asked me on Sunday morning.

Yes, I told him. Twice.

And did you include the photos of the tchotchkes? he asked excitedly.

I didn’t! I got so caught up in the Revolutionary War bits and the Shriners’ Syrian connection that I totally forgot about one of the major major highlights of the parade: the display of American consumerism 🙂 !

Just before the actual parade began, an unofficial mini-parade rolled down the street: a parade of street vendors, selling balloons, stuffed animals and other amusement park-type goods. Their “floats” weren’t the traditional back-of-a-flatbed-truck; instead, they used grocery carts. (If you’ve ever wondered what happens to those orphan grocery carts that linger overnight in supermarket parking lots, now you know :).)

The vendors were mostly young, probably high school or college students home on break. They probably had to be young, or at least strong: each cart had become a movable feast, piled high with toys to tempt young parade-goers, and it looked like the vendors were working hard as they pulled their carts along the street:

We counted at least four over-stuffed carts, as well as one that was almost bare. Either that vendor was an incredibly persuasive seller, or he hadn’t stocked up before the parade.

In any case, the vendors found no success with our group (although my grandmother would have looked lovely under that pink parasol!). But a little further down the road, they found a cluster of eager young buyers – an extended family, each of whom ended with a new treasure for Independence Day:

(For those of you who are curious about the title of this post: President Franklin Roosevelt listed “freedom from want” as one of the “four freedoms” that he believed each person – in the US and the world beyond – should enjoy.

The four freedoms were celebrated in paintings done by Norman Rockwell during World War II. He represented freedom from want as a large roast turkey served at Thanksgiving dinner:

Source: the Norman Rockwell Museum in Vermont.

Of course, the freedom to want is something else entirely :).)


2 Responses to “freedom from (or is that to …?) want”

  1. Moose said

    Speaking of tchotchkes…shortly after our arrival in Phoenicia, C and I were walking up to Sassine on Good Friday and there was a procession being prepared to go around the block with Geryes Taxi carrying a large crucified Christ at the front of the “parade”. In front of Saint Dimitri’s church, where the procession was to start, tchotchkes were selling cotton candy, trinkets and balloons of Mickey Mouse, Bart Simpson…etc. Somehow, your tchotchkes in Boston were a better fit!

  2. Oh, good Lord. What a disconnect! And in both cases, a bit sad! Why weren’t the vendors in Sassine selling rosaries or other religious goods, and why weren’t the Fourth of July vendors selling – ahem! – American flags 🙂 ?

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