Today is Independence Day. So this last list is all of my memories of various July the 4ths.
91. My earliest July the 4th memory is in Alaska. In the summertime in Anchorage, it doesn’t get dark. It’s only kind of dusky. But that doesn’t stop those party animals in Alaska from celebrating our freedom through expression in explosives and gunpowder. Except it’s sort of like doing fireworks during the day. So you kind of have to squint a little.
92. Ok, so this is just a continuance from the #1. Anyways, the main fireworks event was at a stadium in the middle of Anchorage. Gazillions of people gathered. Some paid to sit in the middle of the field and thus have front row seats to the hard-to-see fireworks. I can remember being very young, maybe 4 or so, and watching the fireworks. I also remember feeling under the weather and I threw up in a diaper.
93. I once spent the 4th of July with my cousin and as they lived outside of the city limits (where fireworks were illegal because of dry climate or something) they were allowed to light fireworks. So we went to one of those crazy fireworks shops and bought a trunk load of awesome fireworks. Then we drove to a nearby river bed and lit those bad boys. It was still daylight and we were the only audience, but I remember having a blast.
94. My next memory is with a bunch of friends from high school and we all suckered a mother into driving us all down to the aforementioned stadium to see the Big Show. We didn’t pay, instead we chose to park on a hill nearby and watch. My memory of this particular night was that we found immense pleasure in laughing at some fireworks that looked like sperm.
94. Let’s skip a few years to my next memory which is the first 4th of July I spent as a married woman. We had only been married for less than a month and Lance was now the youth minister of a tiny youth group at a church in Panama City Beach. We thought it was a good idea to take them on a trip so we could bond and all that good stuff. But trips cost money so we hosted a car wash on July 4th, where lots of tourists who wanted shiny cars would give us the needed funds. It was an overcast day, so I didn’t use any sunscreen the WHOLE DAY. Now, remember all that bit about Alaska? Well, we don’t get toasted like a marshmallow over a campfire when the sun isn’t out. NO ONE TOLD ME ABOUT THE DANGERS OF GETTING SUNBURNED ON AN OVERCAST DAY. Yes, you guessed it. Crispy critter. Sun damage. It was TERRIBLE.
95. I was in tremendous pain, and couldn’t raise my arms and wrinkle that tender skin, but I still went with Lance and the teenagers to watch the fireworks from the roof of a nearby hotel.
96. We moved to North Carolina when Lance attended seminary. Our first two years I watched the fireworks from my backyard with about 200 other people. My little house was on a rise and every direction you turned was a family sitting on blankets, littering my little grassy knoll.
97. Once the kiddos were around, the 4th of July was about them. So we mostly spent Independence Day with Lance’s parents. We, along with 90% of his hometown would drive to a main highway and line the road, armed with camping chairs and bug spray. Then we’d wait for the darkness to fall over the town and the fireworks would begin.
98. The last time we did this, Addie, my youngest, was enthralled with fireworks and said they “scratched the sky”.
99. Last year, I had the pleasure of spending the 4th of July back in Alaska with my sister and my niece. We decided to forego the fireworks but we still got to hear them, along with my sister’s dogs who decided they did not like the sound of fireworks. Much barking at midnight.
100. And here it is, drum roll please (by the way, how to you type a drum roll? Maybe this: ~~~~~~~~) I am here, once again, with my sister and her husband and my niece, now a year older. We’ve had the burgers and hot dogs, the apple pie, and the sparklers that the girls were terrified of holding. This evening, when darkness falls, we’ll make our way into the driveway and watch the fireworks from three different shows nearby. It’s a good day.
Thank you for sticking with me thus far on this very narcissistic journey. I hope and pray that everyone had a happy and healthy Independence Day. Many thanks to all the soldiers and servicemen out there who help ensure our safety. May God bless us all. (I sound like Tiny Tim, don’t I?)