The boys ask me which was my favorite 4th of July and I have no idea. They all run together, probably because we did the same thing every year. And that's a good thing. I'm with Erma Bombeck, who said,
You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it's patriotism.
We lived on a lake, and - like most of our neighbors - we hosted a party. Who doesn't want to come to the lake in the summer? All kinds of friends, neighbors, relatives, in-laws and out-laws would show up for the picnic/BBQ. I remember egg toss contests, smoke bombs, water balloons, crimping Whistling Petes at just the right spot so they'd explode at the end of the whistle, wet beach towels hanging on the deck railing, and being in and out of the lake all day long.
Then as the sun went down and twilight came, the sky, the hills, and the water would all turn deeper and deeper blue. And for the big finale we'd light off all the fireworks from the end of the dock. I think a lot of people did that - not a lot of fire danger on a wet dock surrounded by water. And it was perfect. We could all enjoy everybody's show of lights, reflected off the surface of the lake. Magical.
We don't have the house on the lake anymore and we and our boys are making our own traditions. One of their favorites is somewhat incomprehensible to me, but then my chromosomes match. Every year they burn El Guapo's house. (Have you seen The Three Amigos? That's where they got El Guapo.) They spend days constructing an elaborate building - this year a whole compound - out of old cereal boxes. (But it's small - it has to fit in the fire pit.) They stage a whole scene, loading the set with fireworks and smoke bombs and a few old plastic figures they're willing to sacrifice. Then, with much drama, the story unfolds.
Wyatt sets the scene, as his brothers and neighbor boys look on.
There was something about the "fires of industry"... LOTR?
An then a lot of noise and action.
Sadly, one of the spectators most emphatically did not appreciate all the explosions and had to retreat to the house to regroup. The rest of the day was much more to her liking.
A family from the chapel hosts a BBQ/potluck at their farm. You can't beat good friends and good food on a beautiful day :D
And guess who was the belle of the ball?
The neighbors had started their fireworks early and she did not care for the booms and the bangs. But Gunnar is her favorite person in the whole world, and we came up with a solution. Clapping. She loves applause when she does something clever, so we started clapping every time something exploded. I think she thought we were nuts, at first. Pretty soon, others at the picnic understood our m.o. and whoever was near her would give encouraging smiles and claps at just the right time, and then it was all good :D
You forget. You think you won't, but you do. You forget just how much work babies are. With all the new babies at church I was feeling a little clucky, you know? So the timing of Naomi's visit really couldn't be better. I love having her, but I really appreciate the ages the boys are ;D
Still, wrangling three boys, a box of contraband fireworks from "the rez", a cabbage salad, and - oh yah - a baby and all her accessories to the annual 4th of July potluck and fireworks fest made the decision not to take my good (ie heavy) camera along a no-brainer this year. I already had my hands full. So I'm treating you to last year's pictures because guess what? It was pretty much just like last year in all the right ways :D
They welcome everyone to stay until dark, and we all walk up the hill behind their barns where they have a nearly 360 view around the county. We watch "God's fireworks" and then our own.
Happy sigh :D