Tuesday, July 04, 2006

July 4, 2006

As the final countdown to our family 4th of July begins, I remember the 4th's past...

The ones at Grandma and Grandpa's house, with my Great Grandmother; my Great Aunts and Uncles; my Mom's sister and brother-in-law and my cousins; sometimes 2nd cousins...hours of food, hours of fireworks. Grandpa striking yellow "fusees" from the railroad so the sulfur smell would drive away the mosquitos; him standing holding a Roman candle in his hand and shooting the flaming balls out across the yard all the while telling us not to hold them in our hands. After his stroke, one of his big treats for the year was to sit in a lawn chair and have us bring them to him.

After Grandma and Grandpa gave up their house and moved into a retirement apartment, they came to my Mom and Dad's. We lost the cousins then, and most of the Great Aunts and Uncles were gone by then, but it was still the family 4th, with almost as many fireworks.

Grandma got sick the night of the 4th in '79; we didn't know for a few days it was the beginning of her last round with cancer.

After we lost her, then Grandpa, then my Dad, things were a bit dampened for few years. For a while it was just Dottie and I and our boys. My sister married and moved just out of town, and the family 4th gathering moved to her house the first time she asked. Her husband's Uncle Miller came to the first few, and would speak of growing up getting a "brick" of .22 shells for the 4th and being admonished to make them last all day. He spoke of re-enacting Civil War battles they'd been told of, or 1st World War ones..."they're coming through the woods" he remembered them "hollering", lol. Then he was gone as well. Cindy moved off to Lawrence, and we gathered there until they outlawed fireworks there three years ago.

Now my sons and their families, my sister and hers will gather here this evening. 20 pounds of chicken for the grill, several hundred dollars worth of fireworks we bought yesterday...somehow it will still be the family 4th, but somehow I'll be thinking of a lot of wonderful people who aren't here to celebrate as well!

Happy 4th of July to all!



ConnieJane said...

Great memories, Alan!

My dad used to fire up a cigar and let me use it to light those little firecrackers that I'd stick in the cracks of the sidewalk. I felt VERY grown up even though I wasn't.

We're going to the Clearwater Library this evening for apple pie and ice-cream. We'll watch the city's fireworks display over the water from there. We usually have friends over for a cook-out but we're just too tired this year. Things sure change.

Heidi said...

Thanx for sharing your family memories..Make somemore today :) Happy 4th Allan..Enjoy.

Blogzie said...

Oh Alan, you little firecracker you, have a fabulous 4th of July!

With everything that has gone on the last couple of months, we aren't having our usual big barbeque with lots of guests at our house.

Instead we are attending a bigger barbeque with about 100 other people, most of whom we know. I'm liking not having to play hostess this year.

We can see the fireworks from the Santa Barbara County Fairgrounds from our front lawn, so that will provide our entertainment.

Enjoy your family!


TDharma said...

as you launch your fireworks, you can call out the names of those no longer here: "this one's for you, grandma!" You've got great memories, and you're making more for your kids and grandkids. Enjoy!

I n g e r said...

Happy 4th to you, too, Alan! What a beautiful post.

I don't think I'll ever be comfortable with the full burden/blessing of "tradition maker" on my shoulders; my mother's the one who makes it look easy. Sounds like you're rising to the occasion, no matter what's missing from the scene in the quiet of your mind.

xo Inger

puhpaul said...

Happy 4th Alan!

It's nice to see how traditions can be passed on from one generation to another. It sounds like a great way to remember the past while celebrating the present. I bet your grandkids'll be celebrating with their children the same way.


Jen said...

Happy 4th of July Alan, what great memories you have to pass down. What great memories you are making as well!

cherish said...

Awesome post Alan...

It is amazing how gatherings change, traditions change, but times move forward even if we are not ready for it. I sure do miss my grandparents and the traditions we use to have when they were alive!

Patricia said...

what a loving tribute to those who began the traditions in your family. and i think the highest praise that can be paid to those who have passed on is to continue those family traditions and the lore of the family through stories, photos, and the like.

i feel wistful after reading your post, aware of my little blip of existence in the big picture.

and the baton is passed...

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