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Wednesday Warblings
Let The Fourth of July Begin—I Am Ready

By Charles Olken

I live near a big city but in a small town, and this small town has an annual Fourth of July parade that consists of politicians balancing awkwardly on the edges of convertibles, a parade of fire trucks, and a host of high school bands for occasional musical relief. It also features my grandchildren, and that is why, after years of waiting for the neighbors to return so we can party in earnest, I will be in attendance, watching the soccer dollies, the little league bombers and theater and dance kiddies wander by. I was tempted to write “parade by” but that would perhaps be a bit of exaggeration.

Still, it is the party that seems to generate its own bits of excitement, and I have, as of yesterday afternoon, begun to get emails asking what I will be serving this year. You see, one part of the tradition in my neighborhood is that I bring the wine to the block parties. I have no objection, of course. If I bring the wine, I am guaranteed of having something to drink that I will like. And Mrs. Olken is guaranteed of getting a couple of cases of wine out of the house.

The wines are never special, never not special and generally are whatever I happen to have on hand. But there is always one wine for the Fourth, and it has become a bit of our own tradition. I like to offer Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noirs because it is both a seriously good bubbly and because it is well-liked by everyone from the Mimosa drinkers to those who sip it along with their barbecued ribs.

And so I have two messages for you today. Have a wonderful, safe and sane and happy and joyous Fourth of July—and drink some good sparkling wine. Nothing says "party" better than a glass of the bubbly.


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