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I celebrated Independence Day this week with a hot dog decked out in the style of the Blue Bus Diner in Anchor Point. More about that later.

For the dog itself, I went with Oscar Mayer’s all beef natural frank, which three New York Times food writers ranked “middle of the pack” in a field of ten that made the finals. “Best in Show” went to Wellshire Farms brand, available only at Whole Foods, which, as you probably know, doesn’t have a store in Homer, or anywhere else in Alaska for that matter. Hebrew National was a close runner-up.

Where I used to live in Southwest Virginia, the chunky, bronze-tan Oscar Mayer was top dog. I much preferred it to the cheaper, skinny pink variety. It’s still my favorite, so I picked up a pack on the fourth of July at 7:30 A.M., thus avoiding hordes of tourists, fishermen, and seniors who, like me, shop on Tuesday to get Safeway’s 10 percent discount.

IMG_2088I grilled the holiday hot dog, actually two of them, in my nearly vintage George Foreman that refuses to quit so I can get another one that’s easier to clean. Then I covered them with about a third of a can of Amy’s medium spicy vegetarian chili, and topped that with chopped black olives, diced onion, and grated, sharp cheddar cheese. Except for the chili being vegetarian, that’s pretty much the way they do it at the Blue Bus Diner. I went without buns, because I would’ve had to buy a whole bag, and the leftovers would be freezer-burned by Labor Day, when I’ll have another hot dog or two to tide me over until Memorial Day.

After dinner, I wadded up a few months’ accumulation of sensitive documents, which a more civilized person would shred, and used them to start a fire in the tire rim out front. Sitting by my make-shift fire ring in one of a pair of green plastic Adirondack chairs I bought at Ulmer’s Everything-But-Pets-Produce-and-Meat store, I got to thinking about what life would be like if, in this part of North America, the events that made the fourth day of July significant hadn’t happened.

What if we were still subjects of The Crown that rests now on the dignified, silver head of Elizabeth II? What if, instead of a POTUS, we had a PM. What if that were Justin Trudeau, who wears funky socks and forgot to mention Alberta on Canada Day, but seems like a decent guy. A publicly-funded healthcare system seems like a good idea, too, but since I mostly love the USA and know that history is complicated, I let those thoughts swirl away with the wood smoke.

Then I thought about how much I enjoyed those Oscar Mayer hot dogs. What a great way to celebrate Independence Day. And I remembered the song:

 “Oh, I wish I were an Oscar Mayer Wiener.
That is what I’d truly like to be.
’Cause if I were an Oscar Mayer Wiener,
Everyone would be in love with me.”

I don’t know why, but that made me think about Donald Trump. Maybe, instead of being President of the United States, all he truly wants to be is an Oscar Mayer Wiener.

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Copyright 2017. Genie Hambrick. 

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