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Steve Lunetta: Fourth of July refreshes our national pride

Posted: July 4, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: July 4, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Every Fourth of July, my family has a get-together at my sister-in-law’s house in Chino. Chino is a wonderful town — if you like the smell of cow dung. But we ignore the dairy air and enjoy our kin from all over Southern California.

Like most other families, our clan has some unusual traditions that must be practiced annually, or we simply won’t be able to proceed with the remaining months of the year.

I learned how to make ice cream about 20 years ago. Being somewhat of a lost art today, I still practice this time-honored tradition for our gathering. My Butterfinger chocolate malt crunch surprise ice cream is to die for. One of my nephews requests it, so it must be made. It costs me about 30 bucks to make, but I don’t mind.

We also have the annual Croquet Grudge Match played in the front yard with all of the males of the family. No women allowed. (I don’t think they want to participate in our gross immaturity anyway).

Sometimes, it gets a little ugly. Last year, Uncle Earl chased one of the cousins down the street with a mallet. Fortunately, Earl isn’t as quick as he used to be. The reigning champion must be skillful to defend his title from the previous year, but, of course, everyone is gunning for him.

We also go and purchase fireworks from a nearby vendor who represents a high school football team or service organization. This helps it raise funds, and we get the pleasure of watching our money burn up in a shower of sparks.

Chino does not allow “explosive devices” or illegal fireworks and will levy a fine of $1000 for anyone that gets caught.

That still does not stop the jokers down the street who light off bottle rockets and Roman candles. However, the fine also effectively put an end to our dry ice bombs. Those suckers could set off car alarms a block away.

My mother-in-law makes baked beans with bacon. Mmm. Cheeseburgers, french fries, barbecue potato chips and bottled Coke — It’s a meal designed for happiness and heart attacks.

It’s been the same every year for the past 15 years. We wouldn’t have it any other way. Our family get-together every July is just a small reminder of the blessings and freedoms that we enjoy.

I got to thinking about all of the small things that our wonderful nation has that we take for granted each day.

I drive to work each morning on clean, safe and orderly roads. Yes, there are idiots out there, but — by and large — our automotive transportation system is one of the best in the world.

We go to the grocery store and can buy anything we want. You want kosher? Yep, it’s there. How about seven different kinds of salsa? Check. Don’t like Corn Flakes? Well, try one of the other 170 kinds of cereal on the shelves.

Our children go to schools and are educated to read, write, calculate, think, create and dream.

We build businesses of our choosing and can sell goods and services that suit our individual tastes. Our laws create an orderly business climate where newcomers are welcome, while older businesses can grow and thrive.

We are a nation of laws, not men. Sure, we squabble about the details, but, in the end, both liberals and conservatives recognize the value of our system and the justice that it creates.

Families can assemble together and share a meal, play fun games and participate in rituals that make us uniquely American.

I write a silly opinion column in the local newspaper. I am free to express my opinions on any subject that I care to without fear that there will come a knock on the door from a government agency.

You are also free to express your opinions as well. Simply write a letter to the editor and send it to, and the world will know how you feel.

All of this is possible because of this wonderful and mighty nation called the United States of America. I’m very happy and thankful that I live here.

Happy Fourth of July. God bless America.

Steve Lunetta is a resident of Santa Clarita and was runner-up at last year’s Croquet Grudge Match. He can be reached at


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