This Fourth of July was looking like a washout for our family. Rain for days and days. No community fireworks. Beach trip a month from now. No baseball tickets or running the Peachtree Road Race. Our plans consisted of throwing some hot dogs on the grill and maybe getting in the pool if the rain let up.
But, by cracky, we are AMERICANS and I am The Mom, so we needed to do something special to mark this holiday. So I decided to teach Vivi how to make Grandmama Irene’s “Biltmore Apple Pie” from scratch. Can’t get more American than apple pie!
Her helping me lasted about halfway through peeling the first apple. Grandmama uses Rome Beauties. Daddy uses Arkansas Blacks for his apple pies. The Kroger didn’t have either of those, so I went with Jonagolds. Regardless of the apple, you need pretty big hands to work the peeler. Vivi switched to stirring dry ingredients and talking.
Making apple pie on Independence Day got me thinking about being an American. Grandmama Irene was an O’Neal of the Irish sort. She married Pop, whose family has been here so long that there’s a county in Virginia named after them. You had to get here real early for a piece of Virginia. I’ve been an American for a long time.
That peeler that was too big for Vivi’s hands? It was Richard’s. He was an American because his grandfather, Jack, escaped Jewish persecution in Russia and made his way to New York via Japan and South America. He met and married Sadie then their son married a nice Irish girl from New Jersey.
While we baked, G took a nap on the couch. He’s a real American too–by choice. He came to the US to go to graduate school, married a nice Midwestern girl and decided to stay. He took a test and made an oath to become a citizen. G and that nice lady created another American when they adopted a little girl from Brasil and brought her to the States. Victoria has the privilege of two passports–a green one from Brasil and a blue one from America.
Vivi has two passports also. She was born in America to two American parents then we did a lot of paperwork to make her a Brasilian citizen too. She’s been registered at the consulate in Atlanta, approved by the embassy in Miami, and her birth entered into the record books in Carmo de Minas, her great grandmother’s hometown. Her great uncles Wilson and William were the witnesses.
Carlos is an American, too, but not an official Brasilian yet because damn that is a lot of paperwork.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot ever since that South Carolina terrorist said he wanted to “take back our country.” Whose country? America doesn’t work like that, y’punkass. When it’s time to vote, G gets the same number of votes that I do. Me with my county in Virginia and him with his citizenship that’s younger than our daughter–we’re both Americans. This is OUR country.
Oh, and here’s my Grandmama’s apple pie recipe. I double the crust and use about six cups of apples. Arkansas Blacks, Rome Beauties, Jonagolds–you are free to choose because this is America.