I cannot believe it is the middle of summer already. I feel like I missed spring and it is almost fall. Time really flies. Today is a very special day, it is the day our Nation celebrates our Independence. We eat a lot, hang out with friends, family, and see a bunch of fireworks fly. Just hope the sparks aren’t from family. Ha ha some of ya’ all know what I am talking about.
When I was a little girl, our neighborhood was mostly a close group. It was the eighties, everyone left their doors unlocked, neighbors were in each other’s business but helped one another out. Neighbors handed out cookies at Christmas and delivered the bounty from their gardens in the summer. They also formed get togethers, pot lucks, graduation parties, church functions, and my favorite was Fourth of July!
I have to say, our neighborhood did it right, and although I am sure that wonderful couple has most likely passed on, their memories they gave me along with so many others will live on with us. This sweet lively older couple, I feel terrible I cannot remember their names, put together and sponsored a huge neighborhood parade at their corner home. It grew every year. At first it was mostly the nearby kids and some parents but then the adjoining neighborhoods heard all the ruckus and more and more people joined in on the fun. The couple, let’s call them Mrs. and Mr. D or the D’s for short, sent out flyers to notify all the homes welcoming them to join in and decorate their yards, their kids, bikes, carts, or even their own cars and floats if they so chose. At the end of the parade everyone gathered outside the D’s homes for lemonade, and donuts and prizes for the best kid’s bikes or wagons. I still cannot believe the D’s paid for and put this parade on for everyone! Eventually the local cops and fire department joined in and it got a little extravagant for such a rural community but it just made it more fun. We literally were across the street from farm land that has been since developed, but none the less we were the last stop before all farmland for miles and miles. The neighbors who didn’t want to walk in the parade, set up chairs in their front yards and waved our patriotic flag, in support of all who passed by. Once the fire dept. and police dept. became regulars at the parade they started the parade with their sirens and continued them until the end. We even somehow had local kid baton twirlers and gymnasts that did their own routines. The parade grew so much that you could hear when the parade ended, but you may still have 4 blocks to go. There wasn’t a bike or car that was not decorated with Red, White and Blue. People got creative with their kids, cars, bikes, strollers, etc. and it became a real competition for some. What I loved about it was the sense of community, all were welcomed, we were together celebrating, as one. Really a beautiful concept. I wish I had pictures from then. Unless everyone stood still they would not have came out, anyway. No cell phone’s or cell phone cameras, no digital cameras but we had lots of love for our country and each other that day. Okay and being a chunky kid I loved the donuts and lemonade. We gathered back at the D’s home for the refreshments and to watch the prizes get handed out. After some time the prizes were organized by age groups, that’s how many kids their were. Hundreds and hundreds of kids. After I watched the prizes get handed out, ate my donuts and lemonade I would go home and wait till night fall.
Our street, set up their own potluck for Fourth of July. All the neighbors who wanted to participate, paid towards the group fireworks and the main meat dish (usually fried chicken). Our street consisted mostly of older grandparent couples. I was the only kid on our street. I got the most attention, but had no one to play with unless any of their grandkids were visiting. I actually loved to spend time with the older people. They were very good to me and were caring. At night we set up the food in someone’s garage. Everyone brought their own chairs and dish. My mom usually made cheese baklava, I can’t remember the proper word for them but that is what she called them. We stuffed our faces and bellies and took a break talked and ate again. Before nightfall we lit sparklers and waited for it to get dark. Once it was dark there were a few gentlemen who were the designated lighters. They lit the fireworks and ran like hell. We had mainly ground fireworks and the ones that spin and chinese lanterns(my favorite), bottle rockets and they ended the fireworks with the big ones that shoot high into the sky and whatever was leftover. They let me take home a chinese lantern every year, and I really looked forward to it.
It seemed like every year at least a couple mishaps happened where someone was chased down by a live firework, or one landed on someones home, or they jumped into the garage with us all in there. A little dangerous, that was our reality show for the 1980’s. Very entertaining, I must admit and you truly never knew what was going to happen. All real live entertainment.
Be safe this Fourth of July, have fun, enjoy yourself and be grateful for what you do have. Our country, our good friends, pets, family and neighbors. Please remember to take extra care of your pets especially from the heat and noise during this time. Keep them safe and treat them well.
Happy 4th of July to all.
If any of you are interested in how I made the Red White and Blue jar above, send me a message and I will post it for everyone 😉 I will say, save your old pickle and mayo glass jars. All I had to buy was the fabric and I got that 50% off. You gotta love thriftiness!
I hope you get a chance to check out my Bacon & Basil Potato Salad recipe. Hopefully you can give it a go this 4th of July weekend.