Where Romance and History Meet - www.heartsthroughhistory.com/

Saturday, July 3, 2010

How do You Celebrate July 4th?

July 4th was one day that we always closed the shop and took off from work in our family business. On this national holiday we have always had a family get-together. There's something about the 4th. There are so many great ways to celebrate. Some places have parades during the day. In other communities there are softball games, picnics at the park, music under the stars, to name a few activities, followed by fireworks displays.

When I was young we would have a family picnic out in the desert sand hills. Where I live that was a very big deal back then. My grandparents did the same when my mom was little. Some families still like to do that. We'd have a campfire and fix hamburgers. After dinner we'd use the hot coals to light a punk, and use the punk to light the fireworks. I vividly remember one time when my sister was holding a Roman Candle in her hands and it started to shoot balls of flame in all directions. My dad dove for the ground as one went right for him. If I remember correctly that was the end of holding Roman Candles in our family. A good thing. We always cleaned up the area so no trash was left behind, including those used sparklers.

Did you ever step on a spent sparkler in your bare feet? Not a good thing. These days, we watch the fireworks displays from my mom's house or the foothills on the church grounds. There's always a neighbor nearby shooting off small rockets. It makes for an exciting if noisy backyard party. We follow up by watching the celebrations on TV that are taking place in D.C. and Boston. It's amazing what they can do with music and fireworks.

The 4th always begins as a day of taking it easy and ends with rousing celebrations of our national heritage.

How do you celebrate the 4th? Leave your story in a comment. I'd love to read about it. And have a safe and happy 4th of July.

Jeanmarie Hamilton


Miriam Newman said...

When I was a kid, the 4th of July was celebrated in our little town by a parade. The biggest thrill for all the little girls aside from riding in a fire engine was to ride our bikes complete with red, white and blue paper threaded through the spokes of our tires and red, white and blue streamers flying from the handlebars. After that there was a communal picnic at the grade school, followed by fireworks that night.

My best memory is of a little black puppy who crawled under my mother's voluminous skirts at one of those picnics as she sat on the ground (women were wearing hoop skirts and crinolines then, if that isn't giving too much away!). I had been begging for a puppy for months and of course after that we just had to take her home, and that was how I got my first dog..

Clarissa Southwick said...

We don't have any real Independence Day traditions. But the 4th of July that sticks out in my memory was the first one I spent in Idaho. We wanted to watch the fireworks, but decided to come in because the kids were too cold. In the end, we made hot chocolate with marshmallows, dug out the blankets and sweatshirts, and went back out to sit on the lawn and watch the neighbors' fireworks. It was a strange experience for someone coming from the South.

Jane Leopold Quinn said...

It's been years since I've seen fireworks in person. As a kid, I remember burying my head in my mother's lap to cover my ears because the noise scared me so much. But I always watched. This year, Chicago isn't having fireworks in one place downtown. They'll be in 3 places along the lakefront. The northern site is actually near where we live, so we're going to walk the 2 blocks to see them. I'm looking foward to them this year.

Happy 4th, everyone.

Jeanmarie Hamilton said...

Miriam, thanks for sharing your story about the 4th. I can just see those bikes decorated with colored paper. I don't think I've ever been on a fire engine! Cool!

Jeanmarie Hamilton said...

Clarissa, thanks for telling us your story of the strange 4th experience. I can imagine, living all my life in the southwest that it would have been cold for you. Even when we used to spend the 4th at my parent's cabin it wasn't too cold for celebrations. But there was always hot chocolate after a cook out in the evening. :-)

Jeanmarie Hamilton said...

Jane, sounds like you'll have a perfect view of the firework display this year. I'll bet it will be beautiful. Great way to celebrate the 4th!

Caroline Clemmons said...

Jeanmarie, we used to celebrate, but now kind of keep a quiet holiday. I do remember once when my eldest daughter, Stephanie, was about ten and her baton class or Girl Scouts or somesuch was supposed to march in our town's parade, but our younger daughter was riding on a Girl Scout float.. It was five miles, and my mom told Stephanie she couldn't walk that far. That made our daughter determined to prove she could--and she did finish the parade. She confided to me that her feet were killing her, but she wouldn't admit it to anyone else. LOL She was proud she walked all the way. I remember that every July 4th.

Jeanmarie Hamilton said...

Caroline, that must have been a bit stressful for you when she marched 5 miles in the parade! I great memory. Thanks for posting it. :-)

Sally said...

Our small town had a parade, skeet shoot, chicken bbq, talent show and fireworks. An all day affair that was a big deal when I was little. Like most small towns that are all but vacant this celebration is no more, but it lives on as a wonderful memory in my mind.