The Fourth of July

To celebrate the Fourth of July, I decided to share an excerpt from my new novel, “Go WestGo West.” This chapter is written in Aldon’s voice as he writes to his brother in “Hollywood Land.”




Go west 32

The Fourth of July

By DiVoran Bowers Lites


The town council voted to spend a lot of money on pyrotechnics this year. About dusk, we workers went around to the other side of the dam to set off the spectacle. You won’t believe this, Bill, but when we got all the fireworks, including spinning wheels and Roman Candles, laid out, a lighted match fell onto one of the displays and it blew up. That set off the rest of the fireworks and before we knew it, we had a shower of colored lights that illuminated the sky for miles around. They looked pretty reflecting in the lake for all of three minutes, and then it was over. The mayor was so furious, he headed for his automobile saying he was going to the fireworks salesman in Artesia and knock his block off. We managed to talk him out of it, but he took his wife down to City Hall to typewrite a letter of complaint.

It didn’t take long to get to the dance where they had the platform set up at the foot of the range. The folks enjoy the dance, but I never really cared about it. From the time we were boys, mother scrubbed us until our skin burned, then slicked back our hair with Madagascar oil. She parted it in the middle, remember that? We looked like little Lord Fauntleroys. We had to wear those suits, and above all, we had to behave like gentlemen. She took turns dancing with us when she wasn’t making us play our instruments. We had to smile the whole time and it made our faces hurt. With Ellie there though, I was thankful for Nancy’s determination to make gentlemen of us. Dad’s too.



Brother, this is a long letter, but I thought I’d work on it when I had time, then I could put it all in one envelope and save on postage.

I’ll tell you about the dance. Once the band got going, the Solanos didn’t miss a set, and every uncle and male cousin asked Ellie to join them on the floor. Believe me, she learned fast to keep her feet out of the way of their clodhoppers. Usually no man asks any woman to dance except his wife and sometimes his sister, but Ellie has a way about her that puts you at ease, and she’s so daggone shiny, they couldn’t help themselves. Dieter, then Arn went off the band stand to dance with her, so I did too. When I got right up to her I suddenly turned shy and didn’t know what to say. I might have chickened out altogether, but she smiled and put her arms out to me and I was a goner.

The band started the Varsouviana and she shook her head saying, “I can’t do this dance.”

“All right.” I turned away thinking she didn’t want to dance with me, after all.

“Could you teach me, though?” she asked and my heart flipped over.

“Why sure! Here’s how we start.” We had a couple of laughs wrestling to get the arms right. It came to me why people like to dance so much…so’s they can hold each other. All that practice, just so you can put your arms around somebody, Mother never told us about that part. We wouldn’t have liked it if she had. At first Ellie couldn’t get the hang of it, so I showed her a few steps and sang those words the school-teacher (Ma) taught us: put your little foot, put your little foot, put your little foot right down.

“I hate to tell you, but what I’m seeing is not a little foot,” she said, looking at my boots. I laughed so hard she finally had to slap me to make me shut up. Ha, not hard, just a tap on the cheek.

She soon got the hang of it and we rotated around the floor with all the other dancers. Throughout the evening, Nancy and Gertrude took turns with their three hefty brothers and with dad’s brother, Ernest, who lost his wife last year.

Go West is available at Amazon in three editions

Kindle, Regular Print, and Picture Edition.

Go West is going on tour!  I hope you stop by on Monday, July 10 to learn more about Go West and enter for a chance to win one of five prizes. First to go will be beautiful art cards and then we’ll have the two eBooks.


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