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Behind me is Barrister’s, and an old Masonic Building that now houses some sort of woman’s clothing store. They’re having a “polka dot” sale. Looks cute. If you’re one of the hundreds walking behind me in downtown Southampton this July 4th, stop by.

Me? I’m just sitting on a wooden bench, donated by Old Town Lodge No. 908. Come to think of it, that’s tied to the Masons. That will be my homework tonight. On this Independence Day, there’s nothing wrong with a little American history lesson, and on eastern Long Island, there’s plenty of it to learn. I won’t forget. None of us should.

I’m not a patriotic sort. Most journalists, wired to be cynics at heart, aren’t. While the rest of my family will wear some combination of red, white and blue, and my little girl, at least, will wave her American flag, the most American I’ll be is my baseball hat. If I’m feeling especially proud of the USA, I’ll wear a Philadelphia Eagles hat. Come on, it’s the Eagle, the American symbol of freedom.

You can stop rolling your eyes now.

Fine, how is this for being positively American: The iPhone is pumping only U.S. artists into me as I write this. Bruce Springsteen is a 4th of July tradition, and as I contemplate ruining dinner by buying a scoop of ice cream at 4 p.m, Green Day, Lou Reed, Eva Cassidy, Keith Jarrett, John Mellencamp and the New Pornographers also play on. Come to think of it, the last of those artists is a Canadian band. That’s alright, I love that country’s ability to keep guns off streets. I’ll let “Sweet Talk, Sweet Talk,” continue.

It’s a great song. We are a great country. Seems reasonable.

Have a great holiday. Be safe. I’m going to go see a friend’s artwork at a local gallery.

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logo_stopandshopMy baby daughter woke up with a fever. Her cheeks were red and her left hand tugged at her ear. So I took her to the doctor, and he prescribed an antibiotic.

So we took the ride to the Deer Park, N.Y. Stop & Shop and picked up the medicine – free of charge. The pharmacist  said Stop & Shop has stopped charging for antibiotics because “so many people are losing their jobs and it’s really bad out there.”

My baby slept half the day away, and with any hope, she will recover quickly. And as any parent will tell you, watching a kid suffer is pretty agonizing.

But the experience at Stop & Shop gave me hope in humanity and in the possibility that some companies still get it, even if other corporations are taking TARP money to pay bonuses.

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