Happy Fourth of July! I hope everyone is enjoying a festive day today. I’m in the midst of a four-day weekend which has been absolutely lovely. I’ve spent some time in the garden, started a new knitting project, poked around a bit with some crafty projects and am watching a lot of tennis and bicycle racing. This is my last break until September when I head for Paris, so I’m soaking up the peace and quiet and loving it.
Of course, the Fourth of July is an exuberant holiday, meant to be celebrated with fireworks and parades and festivities (which, in my family, meant lots of good food!) When I was a little girl we all gathered at my grandparents farm. The cousins and my brothers and I would have the run of the farm, exploring the barns and the fields, playing with the cats and kittens, running a bit wild.
For some reason, one of my clearest memories of the Fourth on the farm was the pop (soda pop or cola to non-Midwesterners). Grandpa would drag out a couple of large metal tubs, fill them with ice and pop and cover it all with a couple of old rag rugs. Whenever you wanted a bottle of pop (a glass bottle of pop – I don’t care what the plastics and aluminum salesmen tell you, glass is the best!) you would pull back the rug and dip your hand into the icy cold and pull out the flavor of your choice. And what flavors! Creme soda, grape, orange, Mountain Dew, root beer! For one day of the year I was allowed to drink as much pop as I wanted and would be hellbent on trying as many as I could (except creme soda – we all left that flavor for Grandpa)
There would be a picnic on the back lawn, the table groaning under the weight of dishes of homemade food, and s’mores fixed on the outdoor fireplace (some deliberately burned so we could feed them to the farm dog) and when it got dark we’d bring out the sparklers and make light trails among the fireflies.
In my memories the Fourth was always sunny and warm, we felt safe and carefree (thanks to the loving attention of the adults around us), summer was endless and we thought we’d always be young. I’m so grateful for the beautiful memories, for the chance to experience farm life (I consider myself a farm girl even though I never actually lived on a farm; weekly visits to my grandparents and my family history has given me farmer roots), for a family that indulged and loved their children, for the many happy times. It was the best kind of childhood.
Of course, summer turns to fall and children grow up. The adults of my childhood are almost all gone now. And while we can’t bring back those happy times, we can look forward to creating new memories – children and grandchildren join the family, bringing their own light and joy. Now it’s our turn to indulge and spoil them and pass along the stories of their family history. Sometimes it’s a bit sad knowing we can’t go back to the past, but I have every confidence that there are lots more good times and good memories ahead and look forward to it eagerly.
Here’s hoping you had the best kind of Fourth and here’s to creating lots of great future memories!