Sunday, July 4, 2010
The Fourth of July
It is my favorite holiday of the year. Not because of what we are doing today, or what we did last year, but because of the memories of my lifetime. I can look back and remember so many great places I sat and watched fireworks. The picture above is one of my favorite 4th celebrations in Memphis when the country club would have a huge picnic/party and shoot off great fireworks. It was a wonderful way to spend the holiday. The picture is one of my all time favorites.
When I was a kid, there was basically 2 options for the 4th. We were most likely at Lake Delevan with my Grandma and my cousins. I can remember many fireworks displays there in town and on the lake. The station wagons would be packed with kids and blankets. We would light sparklers and snakes and run around barefoot. In the later years we didn't go to the lake any more and we would spend the 4th in Clinton, IA at Riverboat Days, a great celebration in our little river town. The carnival would come to town and set up on the river front. We would ditch our parents and ride the Tilt-a Whirl and the Swings and try our hand at the bottle toss and fishing for rubber ducks. I remember watching the fireworks one year as I rode the Swings with my bestie Barb.
In high school, we had moved to the "big city", Davenport, IA. The most memorable 4th there would be when I was in college. I was home for the summer and was with a friend and her boyfriend and they were going to a party and I tagged along. It was at a house on the Middle Park Lagoon, and the fireworks were shot off right in the park. I never met the guy who lived in that house that night, but here I am having been married to him for 24 years. Crazy. It remains a great place to see the fireworks.
After we were married, we lived in Grand Rapids, MI and spent the 4th downtown. We were young and childless and thought it would be soooo cool to bring our dog to the fireworks. Little did we know that Stoli was terrified of the noise. We were driving a loaner car and were amazed that dog could fit under the seat of a Renault!
We spent a few 4ths at St. Pete Beach in FL where we could sit on my parents porch and watch them shoot the fireworks right on the beach. And then in 1993 I was allowed 1 excursion a day during the last days of my pregnancy and watched the fireworks in the 95 degree Atlanta heat while my ankles swelled. Thankfully that child appeared 2 days later!
Many of the early Memphis holidays were at the country club. But once Nic started playing baseball, we would likely be in a ballpark watching fireworks, and really, what could be more patriotic than baseball and fireworks? We've been at Pickwick Lake, Lake Oconee, and Lake Delavan, the Mighty Mississippi and the Gulf of Mexico. Parks, golf courses, in cities all over America. This will be Nic's second year watching fireworks over the chapel at the USAF Academy. Regardless of where you are, it is a holiday of fun. You don't have to buy gifts, decorate the house or prepare for weeks. The picnic can be simple or elaborate, soft drinks or cold adult beverages, family or friends or both, and always the fireworks. Fifteen minutes of wonder. What a spectacular way to end the holiday that celebrates our nation's birthday. Have a great one!