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!