Happy Birthday, America!

It's my favorite holiday tomorrow! I've always loved Independence Day. When I was a kid, it meant setting off fireworks in the street along with almost every other family on the block, and then climbing a ladder onto our roof (with popcorn and sodas - a rare treat) to watch the big fireworks display at Moffet Field. It meant writing my name in the air with a sparkler and staying up late. It signalled the beginning of a long summer vacation.

Now fireworks aren't legal in my city and I'd never allow my kids on the roof, but the holiday is no less special. We've created our own traditions. At 8:00 in the morning, the gates to the field next to where the fireworks are launched are opened, and we haul our blanket and chairs out there to get a good spot for the fireworks display later that evening. The big park in our town has a Fourth of July celebration all day with watermelon eating contests, and hula hoop contests, and pie eating contests, and all sorts of other contests. Booths are selling food - pizza, hot dogs, root beer floats, strawberry shortcake, and "confetti eggs" abound. A women's group in our town takes cleaned out eggshells, fills them with confetti and then glues tissue paper over the top. The kids love smashing the eggs on their friends' heads (and mine) or tossing them at each other, and the park is filled with confetti all day.

When the daytime festivities are over, a band plays music and the streets around the park are filled with vendors and people setting up their chairs to watch the fireworks display. We usually head home and then walk up the street to our neighbors' house to share our barbecue with them. While we enjoy a few cocktails, the kids walk back to the park, meet up with their friends and throw frisbees and beach balls over the crowd. Then we join them at the park and settle in our spots that we set up that morning. All the kids play and the parents chat until the park is blacked out. There's always a singer to sing the National Anthem, and when she gets to the part "and the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air," we get a few loud booms and a few fireworks are shot into the sky and everyone cheers. It always brings tears to my eyes. Then we sit back and enjoy the fireworks.

The Fourth of July is fun, but it's also one of the most meaningful holidays to me. We always take time during the week to discuss the meaning of the holiday with our kids and make sure they know the names of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams and George Washington.

So have a fabulous Fourth, whatever your traditions. And I hope someone is writing historical romances for this period because I would LOVE to read a romance set during the Revolutionary War! Think of it - a British heroine, the daughter of a British officer falls for a colonial; he thinks she's a spy; he's entrusted to get some vital piece of news to Washington and he's injured; she saves him and....heck, maybe I should write it.

Happy 4th of July!


Vonda Sinclair said...

What a nice 4th of July you'll have, Carol! Sounds like fun!!

Tina said...

Oh, I love 4th of July. It's such a wonderful reminder of where we've come and the odds we beat to get here.

Tomorrow, we're going to a BBQ at my neighbor's house. My neighborhood is crazy with fireworks (even though they're illegal here in NY--go figure)

This year, we got new windows in our upstairs bedroom. Hubby, the kids and I are going to watch the fireworks from my panoramic windows! Can't wait!


Rebecca said...

Oooo, write that story. I'd love to read it.

And have a happy Fourth.

Carol Ericson said...

Vonda, have a great 4th!

Sounds fun, Tina. Enjoy those windows - perfect timing.

Rebecca, if I wrote historicals, I'd start with that one. Happy Fourth!

Sandy said...

Hi Carol,
What a fun Fourth of July you have planned. I have fond memories of going to my aunt and uncles house to play baseball, and whatever else we wanted to do. I loved the sparklers, they were so pretty. Then at night, we would shoot off the big stuff. I never did like firecrackers for some reason.

Happy 4th, Carol.


Carol Ericson said...

Sandy, I'd love to get my hands on some sparklers again. Too bad they're illegal here.

Stacey Joy Netzel said...

Carol, sounds like a great time! Enjoy. :)

One of my memories is all the extended family (9 kids on my dad's side plus lots of grandkids) getting together at my grandparents old school house, complete with a baseball diamond. We'd play baseball all day, eat, and then after dark my uncle would give each grandkid (25-30 of us) a pack of firecrackers, a punk, and we'd divide up into teams, go onto the dark baseball diamond and the surrounding woods, and have firecracker wars. We'd literally throw firecrackers at each other! LOL I'd never dream of letting my kids do that now, but man, it was fun back then. Amazingly enough, none of us ever got hurt. Then my uncles would light tons of fireworks and we'd stay up till will late with a bonfire and play night time volleyball.

This weekend my brother and two sisters and I am going up with the kids to my parents house on the lake.

Happy Fourth of July everyone!

Carol Ericson said...

Stacey - LOL. Yeah, and I used to ride my bike all the time...without a helmet - gasp! My poor kids have never even held a sparkler! We're thinking of going into a neighboring city where fireworks are still legal and buying some sparklers. We live right next to sand dunes and teenagers (and maybe some adults?) are always setting off illegal firecrackers. What's a few sparklers? Enjoy your family holiday!

Chiron said...

The 4th is a big deal here in Ashland. *smile* Huge (and decidedly wacky) parade and the whole downtown is roped off for booths and events. Music everywhere.

Pretty cool.

This year there was a mini-crisis when a new resident (transplant from California), who moved here because of the liberal nudity laws, proclaimed her intention to bike naked in the parade blowing a conch shell.

The Naked Lady annoyed the residents who prefer the parade remain a family event. *grin* Much controversy ensued until she agreed to save her nudity for the other 364 days of the year.

Happy Independence to us all!