An Ozarks Fourth of July by Donal Mahoney

An Ozarks Fourth of July

World War II was over but still
fresh in the minds of folks who lived 
in Bill’s hometown in the Ozarks.
Independence Day was important.
It called for a celebration.

When his father had the money,
and that was rare, he would buy 
a lamb for the Fourth of July.
He'd roast the animal on a spit
in the yard, turning it slowly 
and dousing it with mop sauce.

Bill was 10 on the Fourth in 1948. 
His job was to make the ice cream 
turning the crank on the freezer.
His relatives would watch in the yard 
and laugh and yell when he had
to pause and go to the bathroom.
Banana ice cream, his father’s 
favorite, had to be just right.
Never stop turning the crank.

In 1948, there were no parades 
in town or concerts on TV.
No television sets back then and 
the town was too small for a parade.
But after the Great War, people 
in the Ozarks were quietly proud 
of their independence, not silent 
or oblivious as Bill believes 
some Americans are today.

o:Donal Mahoney lives in Belleville, Illinois. He writes poetry, fiction and nonfiction. Some of his work can be found at


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