The other day my sister asked me why? She doesn't share the same affinity for this holiday. We all suffer from holiday let down. I gave up on New Years around 15. Too many expectations, too many movies depicting engagements, reunions and confessions of true love just at the strike of midnight. That is too much to handle on a teenage/twenty something brain.
But the 4th is ... well, not full of expectations. It just is. Here are some random musings....
- it is always a day off from work-- OK, well for most of my adult life I have been a stay at home mom and now I work in the school system. I have it off anyway. OK, and yeah, all through HS and college I worked as a swim coach and lifeguard. Never had that day off.
- the 4th always meant NEW BATHINGSUITS! They get their first mark down on the 4th. Nothing like a new, non-Speedo bathing suit to break in at the neighborhood party.
- the 4th was usually spent at the neighborhood pool -- and nothing spells fun like silly poolside games. As teenage lifeguard watching the dads in the neighborhood wrassle that greased watermelon up from the bottom of the deep end was strangely satisfying yet terrifying. I was pretty sure I didn't want to put my skills to the actual test.
- greased watermelons aside, the 4th is synonymous with food. Enough said. Red, white and blue food...can it get any better?
- Um, yeah... cause the 4th means FIREWORKS! And I mean the BIG explosions in the sky kind, not the blow your arm off kind. Sparklers were as wild as things got in our household. Fireworks were a no-no in our house. Apparently, my dad had one blow up in his hand as a kid. Thank you to the Chinese for discovering a beautiful use of gunpowder. And, a little known fact... the Chinese shot off fireworks to scare away evil spirits... so the 4th is spirit free!
- But thankfully, not spirit free. The 4th screams cold beer and fizzy red cocktails. For kids, it was coolers full of soda we only got on special occasions.
(actual film from back in the day circa 1980, when kids decorated their bikes and rode around the block to celebrate the fourth)
My kids' 4th memories are different. Especially the fireworks part. Just ask them, they'll tell you the story of dad shooting bottle rockets off his back in a PVC tube. Hey, he was the tallest, it was the most logical. HA. They won't have memories of decorating their bikes and riding around the neighborhood; or of watching the drunk neighborhood dads fight over a greased watermelon. There will be no reminiscing about which neighborhood girl looks the best at the pool. We don't live neighborhood with a community pool and we choose not to join the Country Club in the neighborhood. (Can't imagine what greased watermelon pulls look like with an unlimited bar tab). Hopefully, the majority of their memories will include picnics with good friends, HUGE fireworks displays in our neighborhood (hey, that Country Club does come in handy sometimes-- despite having a golf cart parade) and family.