4th of July

“The Fourth of July should have the right amount of temperature for hangin’ out!”

Thus the man in the official Knicks jersey, Size XXXL, outside of Union Market in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

He was clearly distressed that things weren’t working out the way he had planned. Like that ever happens during a New York City summer.

I spend eleven months out of every year missing June. So when we have a bad one it can affect my outlook for a very long time.

While we had our share of June Gloom, with considerable downpours, we had more than enough stellar days of mild temperatures and lowish humidity to charge my batteries for the coming winter. And for that matter, the coming swelter.

But I like my Fourth of July to be nice and hot, and that it was, even if it did not work out they way I planned.

I went to the Prospect Park and stationed myself on the boulders that magically appeared under a row of shade trees on the western rim of the Long Meadow. I assume they were removed from the fenced off construction project going on just over the ridge behind them.

One of the rocks has a flat shelf at its edge, perfect for the cushion I typically use for the benches, when my laptop and I turn the park into my summer office.

But being a holiday I had but food and a guitar and was going to run through the songs for tomorrow’s rehearsal, which the Paul Ukena Trio will be performing at the annual Martinfest August 4, in Nazareth, PA.

But before I could even start my metronome, a young Rastafarian stopped to listen to pieces I was using to warm up and compliment me on my playing. When it was clear he wasn’t going away, I stopped to exchange pleasantries. And lent him my guitar so he could show me a song he wrote for his Williamsburg Reggae band.

Then he decided to get off his bike and get his out his own guitar, so he could show me various songs to help play while he sang.

Between the grilling holiday revelers nearby and the various aircraft overheard, I could not hear much of what he was actually saying.

And once he rolled a big spliff and kept it in his mouth like a Film Noir tough guy, it was even harder to catch the words. Too many chunk-chucka-chunk barre chords later, I begged off due to hand fatigue and came home.

And as I listen to the far off sounds of fireworks, I am finishing up some notes for an upcoming whisky review for 1mansmalt.com, which was so disappointing a dram I had to revert to mixers to find it some redemption.  It turns out it is not sweet enough to work with soda, but ginger ale isn’t bad. And with coconut water it is terrific, especially for a hot July night. But being single malt and priced as a special edition, it remains a disappointment. Scotch malt whisky needs to have the right amount of price for hangin’ out.