CAPTION: Pictures 1 and 2, Independence Day postcards, circa 1908 "The Second Day of July 1776 will be most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. -- I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding Generations . . . with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Gun, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other . . ." So wrote John Adams to Abigail after the colonies had voted to declare independence from Great Britian. Adams was wrong by two days. America chose instead to celebrate July 4th, the day the Declaration of Independence was adopted, with those guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations, a patriotic display which took place first in Philadelphia in 1777 and had been observed by Yankee Doodle Dandies ever since. An old-fashioned holiday, the Fourth should be celebrated in old-fashioned ways. In the morning, search out a small-town parade where children wobble along on bicycles strung with tri-color crep paper, where dogs get underfoot and the local politician lies in wait at the end of the route to remind you of America's and his virtues. In the afternoon, invite a great many friends for an old-timey, covered-dish supper. Having everyone bring a different dish not only provides variety, it keeps the hostess from collapsing under the weight of the work; we did not free the country to enslave the countrymen. If your guests are willing, you might ask them to bring foods the colonists would have eaten: Hoe cakes, Johnny cakes, corn bread -- anything made from corn meal, or Indian meal as it was called; steamed clams or clam pie, fresh or smoked oysters. From New England come baked beans with salt pork, cold Maine salmon, codfish balls, succotash and blueberry pie. From the South, Virginia hams, crabmeat tossed into a salad, Carolina Hoppin' John (a dish of blackeyed peas and rice), Brunswick stew,or peach cobbler. From the Mid-Atlantic states there are such Pennsylvania Dutch specialities as German-style sausages and shoofly pie. Paper plates and napkins in the appropriate colors make it easy to have a red, white, and blue table. And flags can be bought from any number of sources listed in the Yellow Pages. For a centerpiece, make a large creamy cheesecake and decorate it with circles of strawberries and blueberries (isn't it lucky there's at least one food that's blue)?. And it is not at all corny to have someone read the Declaration of Independence. When the table begins to look-tatered and the porch is smudged the dark trail of burnt-out "snakes", when it is still not quite dark enough to make loops in the air with sparklers, it will be time to load your guests into their cars while you all head off for the nearest fireworks display.