Today, being the 4th of July ~ an observance we celebrate every year to honor the birthday of our country. Family and friends gather for reunions, small and large get-together’s, picnics, swimming, games, and maybe ~ just in general ~ a lazy summer day at home.
I think back when we would go to my aunt and uncle’s house out in the country. We would go every summer when I was between the ages of 5 – 9. Uncle Olen always took care of the homemade ice cream ~ hmmmm … the churning, anyway. Aunt Lora would hand him the container filled with cream, sugar, vanilla + mixture ~ for him to pack in the churn surrounded with salted ice, with a towel draped over the top to keep the ice as cold as possible for the time needed to have perfect ice cream. We would all visit him and my dad from time to time as the two sat and talked, taking turns with this little chore. We’d stand as watch as either churned away, and asked ~ “Is it ready yet?”! “Nope”, my uncle would say “but we’re getting there”. Seemed like all afternoon of waiting for the best ice cream ever ~ which was served with one of Aunt Lora’s homemade cakes ~ and usually with strawberries on top. Such a delight we all enjoyed immensely. Then, of course, we had to wait for the dusky nightfall for the fireworks. Since my aunt and uncle lived in the country, we didn’t have to worry about “the law” coming out for setting off fireworks. Dad and Uncle Olen were in charge of those, too, and kept a close watch on us so we weren’t too close ~ but close enough to see the beautiful display. Seemed like the fireworks lasted for a very long time, but in essence the “show” was about 10 minutes. Regardless….we thoroughly enjoy them with “ooo’s” and “aaaah’s”. And one year the pinwheel, my uncle thought he had firmed mounted on the barbed wire fence ~ jumped right off and started “chasing” him! That was worth a few laughs once everyone knew he was okay! But, prior to the “big show”, we had sparklers to wave and write our names with. My brothers seemed to always have cherry bombs ~ which scared the ba-geezes out of us girls. They thought they were pretty darn funny hearing us all scream, but then would run away in fear of their lives. Well…at least they pretended to be in fear. After depleting our supply of sparklers, we would play hide-n-seek, or “who’s afraid of the ghost” with such dark shadows around the house ~ got pretty spooky at times. While, we played, our parents would sit on the porch and visit….occasionally checking on us when it got r-e-a-l-l-y quiet. Then someone would have to “shush” them away giving up where they were hiding ~ they always got caught first! Of course, “time for bed” always came too soon. Ushered in, baths a necessity ~ tucked in and ready for sleep. Two of my cousins, Joyce and Ruth, were about my age and we would be too excited to sleep ~ talk and giggle, giggle and talk. Seeing that we weren’t serious about settling down ~ Joyce’s older sister, Joann would say, “Okay girls, we are going to play a game. Whichever one of you can stay quiet for 5 minutes and then tell me good-night, will win a prize”. She’s pretty smart because none of us ever found out what the prize was ~ I do believe we all fell asleep within two minutes ~ if that long!
Oh….it’s the memories that we make on this day that lend to such special thoughts for our future, especially now that some of those present have been gone for quite some time. Even though, within my heart they still live and are a major factor of who I am today.
July 4th is a special holiday ~ a special day not only for our country, but for myself. And within the few hours of celebration, I give thanks to Him for veteran’s and current serviceman who serve our great country so we have the freedom to create such life long memories ~ liberty and the pursuit of happiness of which our country was founded. Our country is one that has lived through many changes ~ survived. I pray for all of us to be strong and holdup “the truths” of honor and respect which men and women have fought so hard to keep in place. To all ~ May your Independence Day be a reminder of how blessed we truly are.
For now ~ I have just a few last minute preparations for my own crew ~ new memories to unfold ~ filled with laughter, joy and love … with my own family. Only the best to all ~ and, God bless America.