FISHERS, Indiana – Joe Spangler, 66, had just spent about four hours on his knees, with chalk in one hand and a pipe in the other, drawing on his Fishers driveway Tuesday afternoon.
There's a pretty good reason why a grown man is scribbling with chalk: He's writing out the Declaration of Independence on his driveway in red, white and blue chalk, as he has each year for the past decade.
"I hope I can keep doing it, depending on the back and the joints, but the neighbors always like it," he said. "It looks good until the first rain, which might be tonight. (It's) a lot of feeling of regretting it the next evening or morning, when I get up a little stiffer from kneeling and bending over all day, but it’s always fun."
Finding the specific colors he needs — and not a full box of ones he doesn't — has become an annual internet challenge for him and his wife.
"Every other year or so, 'well, we got it there last year.' Well, it's not available this year," he said. "Barb goes searching the Amazon and eBay trying to find somebody that's selling just the right colors.
"I'm not sure about this year's reds. They look a little pink."
He doesn't have a favorite year for his neighborhood-famous driveway art, he said, but looks forward to it every Fourth.
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"Barb tries to take pictures, but it's like looking at old Christmas photos," he said, laughing. "'What year was that? Was that '74? '75? Oh yeah, the Christmas tree was in the corner, it's '75.' No, once they get done and I sit back and look at it, I can't tell you what it looked like from the year before."
But it's not just an art and craft project for Spangler, who did his master's work on John Adams and is a big fan of the "1776" musical.
"I've always been fascinated with the American Revolution and the political process of it," he said. "Let's just remember what the Fourth of July is all about. It's not just hot dogs and fireworks."
This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Indiana man writes the Declaration of Independence on his driveway every July 4th