The 4th of July has always been a favorite. It’s the heart of the summer. Between festivities and family, what’s not to love? It’s not just one thing about the holiday that I love. It’s all of it, but mostly it’s the memories.
Top 7 Fourth of July Favorites:
1. Family Time – For those of you who follow the blog or follow me on Instagram here, you have heard a LOT of my memories of the local lake. My grandparents rented a cottage at the lake for decades. It was the place to be for the 4th of July. Often extended family members would come over for some fun in the sun.
They weren’t just any family members either. They were the huggers, the hilarious, the outgoing. Key among the love and laughter were my great aunts and second cousins. When my great aunts, grandma, and mom were together – OMG!!
One memorable example: My great-aunt Lucille was the proper one. When the ladies tried samples of a new wrinkle cream one of my other aunts was selling, my great aunt Mary, the brazen one, told Lucille that if she didn’t shut up, she was going to shove some up her ass to see if that got rid of the wrinkles. If anyone else had said that to Great-Aunt Lucille, war could have broken out, but since it was Mary – a loving, fun, but salt of the earth kind of gal said it, Lucille busted out in laughter.
2. The Parade – As a kid, the prospect of someone throwing candy is a no-brainer, good time. If they considered handing out drinks, I may be persuaded to again find it amazeballs! Until then, it will be a memory of something I once loved. What made it fun, though, I realize, is that we were all together. My grandparents, parents, aunt, uncle, and cousins. Although we all lived relatively nearby in a small town, it wasn’t often we were all together.
My favorite score from the parade was the Hostess Twinkie plastic rings. If only life could be that simple again! However, I can be glad that my taste has been upgraded. On the other hand, if I was handed one today, I bet it would make me smile. It’s okay to honor our memories and that certainly would.
3. Carnival – Immediately following the parade, the family would go to the local bakery to grab some glazed donuts (apparently the loot of candy wasn’t enough sugar) and then off to the carnival. The carnival was just two blocks down, in the city park, right next to the lake. I do not remember going on many of the rides, but the Sizzler and Tilt-A-Whirl was a favorite. What stood out was all those seemingly rigged, goofy games in the hopes to win a stuffed dog you could have people sign.
I long wondered where all those written word mutts ended up. Did any of them suffer writer’s block or just have their stuffing torn out due to cheap materials and manufacturing. If you have one of those relics, do this girl a solid and pass along my regards. It has been too damn long.
4. Swimming After Lunch – The next best thing? Heading back to the cottage to go swimming. But first, we had to have lunch and wait the adult-prescribed half hour after eating before we could run down to the dock.
(Didn’t they prove that adult-prescribed half hour before swimming untrue? Maybe it’s was wishful thinking. That rings a bell and I call that bell Bullshit. Not the bell exactly, but that half hour to wait to go swimming was excruciating).
Half an hour later the family was on the dock or in the water with innertubes, floaties, and rafts. Oh, my!
5. Hammock Time – Don’t get too excited. There was only one hammock, but I loved that thing. The hammock and a bunch of folding chairs were placed out in the front yard in a circle that is where we gathered next.
On one notable occasion, my grandma was talking and suddenly her lawn chair fell over backward, and her legs went straight up toward Jesus. First of all, the chair was placed on a bit of a hill. Second, besides the kids, I bet she was the only sober one there. Third, Grandma was a talker and this “falling all over yourself” moment was likely a good comic relief for her audience.
6. Sparklers and Firecrackers – Always being on the more cautious side, I was more of a sparkler kind of girl than lighting firecrackers, Roman candles, or bottle rockets. Papa would light the sparklers for me and I would enjoy writing in the night’s sky alongside the fireflies.
I have no recollection what I was trying to write then, but you can bet I today I would either be writing “Where did all the ‘Autograph’ stuffed dogs go” or “Damn, I love those Twinkie rings”. Next, I would write a big “I miss you, Papa and Grandma”
7. Fireworks – The culmination of the festivities. Once again we went back down to the dock to wait for the fireworks to begin. Between the sugar and the excitement, 10 p.m. couldn’t come fast enough!
The perfect end to the perfect day. The brilliant colors bursting in the night’s sky was the best show on earth. Nothing beats fireworks reflecting on the water. So many ooh and ahhs.
The 4th of July favorites are treasured memories for many. Ever since my grandparents stopped renting the cottage, the holiday has made me yearn for those times. My grandparents and Great-Aunt Norma also confided that the 4th of July was tough when it became too difficult for them to get together.
However, instead of focusing on what I miss, I am learning to smile in remembrance. What a lucky girl I was to grow up with such memories and with such freedoms. I visit the same places and while I ache for those my grandparents, great-aunts, great-uncles, aunt and uncle who have since passed, they live on in those memories. There is always something to celebrate.
Happy 4th of July, y’all! Be sure to follow Sweetsnsnarks to keep up with latest blog posts and updates.