They gathered in the greater Stone Mountain community just outside Atlanta, bringing gifts of smiles, embraces, barbecue, fresh vegetable sides, tequila, bourbon, beer and wine. From Florida, Tennessee, Illinois, Georgia and other far away places, the assemblage included musicians-pickers, drummers and singers-doing their interpretations of Van Morrison, Allman Brothers, Hank, Willie, Merle, The Band, Bob Marley and more from the late afternoon until well beyond the midnight hour.
The home and yard is "my spiritual garden," said host Franki Jewell, referring to myths and fables. Magic abounds here, she revealed. The positive kind that enriches mind and body.
The party was in keeping with traditions that George Washington and other Founding Fathers encouraged. Our first president, while commanding the revolutionary army, provided extra rations of rum on July 4 at his expense to his soldiers. John Adams encouraged commemoration with "pomp and parade, guns and bonfires forever more."
In that spirit, Americans, in their own way, privately and publicly celebrated the date America was born with races, fireworks shows, concerts, parades and events draped in red, white and blue.
Here, near the gigantic granite monolith, rock, country, folk and bluegrass music synthesized, fueled by good drinks, wonderful food surrounded by boundless human kindness that would have made Thomas Jefferson very proud.