July 04, 2011

The Fourth of July Edition

I have fond memories of the 4th of July growing up...we lived only a mile or so from the site our City launched the Fireworks so we'd have a picnic in our backyard - iced-down watermelon, homemade pickles, corn on the cob, either burgers and dogs, or, if Mom got a great deal - steaks (we were a family of 7 remember!), we'd even get to have soda...

As kids, we'd get up, have breakfast, take care of the garden quickly, and head up to Main Street to watch the parade. Floats, marching bands, the hope that one of the Horse groups would be there - my favorite was always the one dressed like they were in the Old West - dusters, boots, spurs, chaps, cowboy hats, bandanas, shiny 6-shooters on their hips, rifles in their cool saddle holsters...and the best part? They'd actually fire off those weapons into the air as the Indians would come galloping behind on their paints and Mustangs (the horses not the car!), all in authentic war dress, faces painted, feathers and beads, moccasins...whooping and yelling...Or the Rodeo Queen and her court from the previous year - riding in her brightly colored satin Western-style shirt, white fringed, and her beautiful white jeans, shiny boots, sparkly sash...and her totally bedazzled hat in place of a tiara...and Veterans that would march in the parade to present the Colors...in their full-dress uniforms, or their appropriate garb, pressed, starched, crisp, so proud to have served this fine nation...

After the parade, we'd head to the park to pick up whichever one of us kids was marching in the band, get extra popsicles, and head home.

If we were having a lunch picnic, we'd set the old redwood table in the backyard, on the concrete patio, under the shade of the cottonwood tree...after lunch, Mom would let us put on our bathing suits and run through the sprinklers, play in our little plastic pool, eat watermelon til we almost popped...and then the waiting would begin. We'd be sent inside to clean up and have our requisite "heat of the day quiet time" and we'd read books, work on little things around the house, or, if we were having a dinner picnic, work on getting the water boiling for the corn cobs, making potato salad, whatever last minute things we needed to do. And then...we'd wait, and wait and wait and wait for what seemed like forever...

And around dusk, we'd all get hosed down with bug spray (until we were old enough to say we'd do it ourselves and then we'd not put any on and spend the evening swatting and swishing at mosquitos rather than be sticky and stinky!), and troop outside.

In the early years, when our trees were small, we'd just spend the entire evening in the backyard, put up those awesome lawn chairs (the ones with the nylon webbing) or the even more awesome loungers that were the plastic tubes all woven on the metal frame that you could fold into this nifty triangle to play space ship...or we'd spread a blanket in the grass and lay on our backs...and then, we'd wait for it to get "dark enough"...and we'd watch the awesome fireworks display and listen for the echoing thumps of the cannons...in later years, as the trees grew and blocked our view, we'd sit in the side yard (I loved living on the corner lot) and watch from there.

I remember one summer the neighbors splurged on sparklers and legal firecrackers...it was awesome.

My best memory? Is that I was 16 the first time I went to Disney and got blown away by "real" fireworks displays...

Happy 4th of July - be safe and have a wonderful memory-making day!!!

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