Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The ghosts of Independence Day Past

If you are like me, you can't remember what you were doing last week, let alone last year.

But there is one day a year that holds a lot of memories, and I can remember them fairly well. It's the fourth of July. Don't ask me what my last Christmas was like, or my birthday, or Easter, but for some reason, I can remember a lot of things about Independence days of the past. I was thinking about it last night while I was sitting on the lawn of the soccer field of the Hubby's school remembering how last year we were over there on the other side of the restrooms. We brought bubbles and blew them while we were waiting for it to get dark. Our adopted grandpa came with us. When we got all settled and "made camp" he brought out a bag of m&m's for us to munch on. My kids found some friends from the neighboring "camp" to run around with. Bogey was scared to hear the fireworks, but not scared to see them, so he sat on The Hubby's lap with one eye out peeking out of his blanket and both of his ears covered.

There are so many sweet memories associated with the fourth of July for me.

This year there was a storm moving in. We got set up in our camp spot and spread out a picnic dinner of chicken salad sandwiches, berries, crackers, and cookies. While we waited for the sun to go down we watched God's fireworks (aka the lightening storm coming in from the other side.) For a little while we thought the storm might ruin the fireworks, but it never moved in fast enough. Still, it was pretty amazing to have lightening behind us and fireworks in front of us. Almost like God was reminding us that he still loves America, too.

I started thinking about other Independence Days that were special to me.

Like the one ten years ago. Back when The hubby was just the Boyfriend, we were supposed to meet up with my family in my hometown, which was then only a little over an hour from my house, and go see the fireworks with them. We left our little college town fully intending to drive to my parents' house, but decided about half way there to stop in the town in between where the fireworks were shot over the river. We got there in the late afternoon and there were already gobs of people sitting on blankets on the banks of the river, playing ball, and kids running around. So we went a ways off, on the other side of the LDS temple to be together. Definately not an ideal spot for watching the fireworks, but perfect for us. We had a book of lists that we had started, places we wanted to go, books we wanted to read...names we liked. We had a bag of cherries. We spend the entire afternoon writing out our dreams of our future lives together, eating cherries and spitting out the seeds, and wrapping our brains around the idea that what we felt for each other may be eternal.

Two years later we ditched my family again. Only this time it wasn't intentional. It was before we had a cell phone. My family had gone up to the fireworks earlier to get a good spot, and we were going to meet them up there later. Except we couldn't find them. it also didn't help that we didn't get there until right before the show started. It was dark. And I got really discouraged since it was Dev's first fourth of July and it was turning out to be pretty crummy. She was cranky and tired, so we headed back to our car. We got there just as the show was starting. I was afraid she would be scared, so I wrapped her in her little pink blanket so that only her face was sticking out. Then handed her off to the Hubby, and we climbed up onto the hood of our car, and laid against the windshield to watch. Dev fell asleep all cuddled up against her daddy. I don't think I'll ever forget the way she looked wrapped in her pink blanket in the light of the fireworks.

There there was the year we went over to our good friends, the Burch's, to watch the fireworks from their driveway. Halfway through the show their son started singing "O Christmas Tree" very loudly. and we all laughed like maniacs. Those guys have made maniacs out of us many, many times since then, too.

I love that I can look back at all these Independence Days and see how I've changed and how my family has changed through the years. Everyone should have a day to remember where they were last year.

What did you do for your Fourth of July?

p.s. Please send prayers and good thoughts to my brother-in-law, Rex, who was hit in the eye with a scrap of fireworks. We are praying it will heal and he'll still have use of that eye!

1 comment:

Luanne Hardy said...

The 4th of July always holds the best memories for me. Ever since we've moved to CA that's been a little different but I just ignore those years and focus on the good ones.
When I was a kid my whole family would buy the matching Old Navy T's. We would head down to the parade with chairs, a blanket, water, and breakfast. We would watch the parade and catch candy. In later years I was in the parade for marching band.
After the parade we would get something on the way home for lunch. Once we got home we would start "packing" for our trip down to the river. We would pack, our 4th of July blanket, the radeo, the small gas stove, hot dogs, hamburgers, and all their fixins. We would get cards, games, and all of our allowance. Then around 4:00 or 5:00 we would head down to the river to set up camp. We would grill our food and play our games while listening to 97.3. They would have those guys walking around with the carts filled with all the stuff that you don't need but at the same time MUST HAVE. My and my sisters would always spend all of our allowance on that stuff. Then, it would get dark. All you could see were people's glow necklaces. We knew it was time. Sure enough the announcer on the radio would start to talk about how awesome our country is and the fireworks would start. They were always so beautifully planned with music and words and awesomeness.
After the fireworks we would sit in 1 hour's worth of traffic so that we could go home and light off our own fireworks.
Those were the best days ever.
Too bad the 4th is nothing like that where we live now. Michale and I decided that when our kids are old enough to appreciate it we are going to Idaho every year for the 4th of July.