4th of July Remembered

Happy 4th of July!

Although I am stuck working and will miss most of the fireworks displays I’m still in a patriotic spirit.  When I first started at Greenwood it seemed like I always worked on 4th of July and it used to dissapoint me because I always have thought of 4th of July as a family day.  You know picnics and cook-outs and everyone gathering on a blanket to watch fireworks.  And, with the exception of the Jerry Springer set that I will have to deal with in a few hours when the beer starts to run out, everyone spends some quality family time together.  I used to get really upset that my kids wouldn’t have any good July 4th memories because it always seems to work out that Dave or I are working.  But then this year I started realizing a few things.  First, Teagan does not like fireworks.  She does not like them to the point that I had to close the sun roof last night because she was scared.  And Dawson only recently started coming around to thinking they were OK.  But never the less we used to drag them to fireworks shows where they would sit terrified or screaming or both.  Now I’ve found that if we sit far enough away she’s OK as long as she holds her ears.  So here I am trying to make wonderful happy family memories, and they are in near panic attack mode at the thought of fireworks.  Just a guess, but I’m thinking sheer terror doesn’t exactly make for happy childhood memories.  Secondly, neither of them like picinc or cook out food.  Dawson gags at the thought of potato salad.  Neither of them eat any type of beans (baked, green, northern, jelly etc…).  Apple pie……ha! It contains real fruit right?  Dawson may nibble at a hamburger and Teagan will probably eat at least one whole hotdog (it takes her at least 3 hot dogs to make one whole one because she drops them on the ground about half way through).  And lastly, my children do not know any better.  They do not know that other kids have parents that work Monday through Friday, that are home every evening and weekend, and when they get off for a “holiday” during the week it is a big treat.  So here I have spent the past 8 years in maternal worry that my children are being deprived of a truly family bonding holiday like the 4th of July — only to realize that I am actually saving them from food they don’t like, 25 min of sheer terror watching fireworks explode while everyone around them says “ohh” and “ahh” and neither of them knows that it’s not “normal” for a mommy or daddy to work on a holiday.

This brings me to part 2.  There is a new popular phrase in our house:  “what was it like when you were a kid (or my age)?”

So here is what I recall the 4th of July as:

Mom had friends Dave and Terry Povero who used to host an annual July 4th Pitch In at their home on Talbott St in Indianapolis.  When I was 9 or 10 it seemed like there were hundreds of people there, but in all actuality it was probably more like 25 or 30.  We would grill out, there would be a radio playing and I used to play with their cockapoo dog named “Tinkerbell.”  At some point, The Holy Order of Mans would have a patriotic parade down Talbott St – they lived a block or so down the road.  The men first and boys on their bikes with red, white and blue streamers woven through the spokes and then the women and girls in their long skirts waving American Flags.  As it started to get dark we would all walk in one large group to the Indiana War Memorial and watch the fireworks (back in the day set off from the “AFNB” building – now called the “Region’s Bank Tower”).  I remember how I used to look forward to that party every summer.  Before that when I was younger, we would usually drive up to Acton (or at least park somewhere on the side of Acton Rd) and watch the “Acton Volunteer Fire Dept.” set of fireworks at Acton Elementary School.  There’s another blast from the past as there is no longer an Acton Fire Dept.  I don’t remember ever being afraid of fireworks — maybe I was.  I was afraid of sparklers… I didn’t like holding something sparking like that.  And no matter what you say, the little sparks that would always land on your arm hurt.  Who ever thought it was a good idea to hand a child a sparking metal rod that was burning at like 1000 degrees?  I remember how we used to catagorize the fireworks like: “macaroni” for the ones that would squiggle and “spider” for the ones that used to shoot out in long lines.  And no matter how hard you try, you just can’t help yourself from saying “ohh” and “ahh.”  Although I’m mostly an “ohhh’er.”  We also used to enjoy watching Junior next door set off all his fireworks he’d get in Tennessee.  Also another blast from the past, back when you had to drive to Tennessee to get fireworks that were “illegal” in Indiana and hoped you lived in a rural enough area you wouldn’t get caught with them.

Well there you go, my stroll down nostalgia lane.  Enjoy the fireworks this evening, and the potato salad, baked beans and apple pie.  Watch those sparklers…. they are dangerous!  And think of me……..sitting here…….. Dealing with the Jerry Springer set because the beer is starting to run out and the calls are starting to flow.  Soon everyone will be calling because their neighbor is setting off fireworks.  Oh the joy!

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