Daily Affirmation

The best things in life are free.
The second best are very expensive.
- Coco Chanel

Friday, July 5, 2013

Fourth Of July - 2013 Style

We spent a quiet Fourth of July, L and I.  I woke up feeling out of sorts.  I missed the kids.  I wanted the grandkids.   Holidays are just not the same without the loud, rambling commotion that accompanies family.  (L may take exception to that, however...)  And especially July 4th.  That day in particular just begs for large party BBQs, swimming in pools, and getting little ones shoes on - maybe a light sweater - to go watch fireworks.

I texted each one of the kids and wished them a happy 4th.  Asked what they were doing.  They were all having fun, going to pancake breakfasts, swimming, the beach, fireworks shows in their communities.  Scott actually called me, and we had a fun little chat over the phone.  Cheered me right up.  Made me look at the day and decide that maybe it would be fun after all - even if it was just L and me on our own.

Our community has a nice sports park where the city puts on a free fireworks show every year, complete with music.  And it's really really good.  It's always packed with people - small children, dogs, picnic food.  Some people come and stay the whole day, and some just come for the fireworks.  We've spent many years with the kids and a couple with grandkids sitting at that park watching fireworks.   I wasn't sure about how it would feel to go, just the two of us. 

L and I had sort of a lazy day getting a few things done.  We went to the store and bought some rib eye steaks to barbeque, and we had some corn on the cob and watermelon.  A couple of days ago we'd gone to Cost Plus World Market, and they had bags of applewood chips to use in the BBQ to smoke your meat.  We'd never done that before (we are not accomplished BBQ-ers) and we wanted to give it a try.  So we soaked the wood chips, and when the coals were all ready, we added the wood.  On went the meat, and it began to smoke furiously.  So furiously we had to shut the sliding door leading out to the patio.  But it was all worth it.  Those steaks were AWESOME.  I highly recommend the smoking technique.  I know - you've probably all tried it and we're the last to know.  But just in case you haven't - try it.

We finished dinner, and L said "Let's go to the park."  I'd wanted to go, but without the kids it seemed like it wouldn't be as much fun - but suddenly I felt like... what the heck, right? So we did.  We grabbed our jackets, a couple of chairs, and off we went.  We found our spot at the park, set up our chairs, and batted away all the little bugs flying through the air.  Watched kids getting all wound up waiting for the show to start, and yet tired from the long day behind them.  Families, large and small.  Some were just couples, like us.  At about 9:00 it started.  And it was loud, and bright, and totally awesome.
I'm so glad we went.  Fireworks on the Fourth, along with all of the patriotic music makes your heart kind of swell.   We're AMERICANS!!  It's a love fest for America, and we should have them more often. 

After it was over, we made the trek back to the car, successfully avoiding the traffic jams and crowds pouring out of the park.  And when we got home, one more treat.  L fired up a few more coals, and we sat on the patio until about 11:00, toasting marshmallows and eating s'mores. 

You know, those toasty melty marshmallows you've just toasted over the coals smashed between 2 graham crackers with a piece of chocolate?  Yeah... that's the stuff...  We sat there toasting, and eating, and talking, and it was just about the best time ever.  Even the crazy June bugs gave us a break that night, and went to bed early.

It wasn't quite the idyllic July 4th of my childhood - or even my childrens' childhoods.  You know where at least one kid steps on a hot sparkler with their bare feet, pinwheel fireworks nailed to a tree somehow work loose and chase you all over the yard in a crazy haze of smoke, sparks and furiously spinning colors.  Black snakes making an inky mess on your sidewalk.  Kids brown from the sun with eyes red from swimming all afternoon and smelling of chlorine.  Neighbors pooling all of their fireworks together into a mass display.  Older boys (or girls) getting a chance to light a fountain cone, or lighting the sparklers for the younger ones.  Writing your name, or making patterns in the dark with sparkler after sparkler, until at least they've all been lit.  Those are fond memories.  For many city folk these days (and especially in California where we are nothing if not environmentally safe and sound) those neighborhood fireworks shows are a thing of the past.  Firworks sales are banned in many cities.  We go to community sponsored shows and sit with our friends and neighbors and strangers, enjoying the booms and explosion of lights in the sky.  It was still good, but I miss how it used to be.

But L and I still enjoyed our s'mores in our own back yard.  We felt like we were camping out as we looked out over the city below and beyond, and watched rebel fireworks being shot up in random neighborhoods here and there.  In the distance, Disneyland's fireworks could be heard and seen.  And in the spirit of American rebels and patriots past and present, we lit our own little sparklers, and wrote our names and patterns in the dark.


  1. Hello, dear karen! L and I have a few things in common. We both like Kiss. We both like your red streaked hairdo. When it comes to the loud, rambling commotion that accompanies family, he and I both say, "Meh..." (LOL) I love corn on the cob and watermelon and when I looked at the pics of your s'mores my mouth watered so much I nearly drowned myself! It rained hard here during the day of the 4th but cleared in time for us to view fireworks originating from a nearby park - not as spectacular as the display you guys witnessed. The special memories you shared of 4th of Julys long ago are all ones that I remember from my own childhood. It's a shame so much has been banned, changed and discontinued since we were young. I hope you are feeling well, dear friend. Enjoy your O.C. weekend!

  2. Toasted marshmallows, fireworks, our mate...still the ingredients for a great 4th. It sounds like you two made the best of it!

  3. Happy belated Fourth of July. With S'mores and roasted marshmallows, you really can't go wrong :-)

  4. I've read more blogs that say they spent the day quietly..maybe because of the age of the people I follow and the fact most of us have kids grown and gone! Even my sister said she spent it quiet and her kids live very close and usually are around everyday! Your day sounded great and I'm glad you went to the fireworks show! Enjoy your weekend Karen!

  5. Sounds just perfect to me! A nice quiet, gentle 4th.... and you even got to see fireworks! .... and reflect about it to us! :-) (glad you did!)

  6. BBQ steaks, s'mores and fireworks sounds like a great day. I love the patriotism of Americans.

  7. It's tough to spend a holiday away from one's family, especially when you have rich memories of how it's always been. Glad you made "it" happen sans the kids. Perhaps you're forging a path to a "new normal" - we're learning to do the same.

  8. Guess what? I was feeling a bit of our sorts with our situation, too. Oldest and middle, you know, are not in our home state. And youngest was away visiting grandparents. Husband and I accomplished some garage cleaning. Then we headed on some errands and ate at Chili's. The waiter kept asking what we were going to do after. Nothing we said. It felt weird. I wanted to be out water skiing on the lake, or at the park...but we just stayed in our cool house and watched some fireworks around the neighborhood. It worked out perfectly. Our day turned out great except we missed out on steak and s'mores. I know s'mores a little too well:)

  9. Hey I called you too ;-) Glad you ended up going and had a good time! Wish we could have been there. Your smores look so good right now!

  10. Sounds like a pretty great 4th after all, but I really do get what you're saying about having the kids around.

    We were lucky because we were putting on a huge regional 4th of July party, and nearly 400 kids were there. It was crazy fun. We even played watermelon polo in the pool!


    1. Watermelon polo? You'll have to explain that one to me! Sounds like you had a great time...

  11. It rained here on the 4th so our celebration was a little subdued. We did have some family come over had eat ribs with us which was fun.
    The only fireworks we saw were the kids across the street wearing slickers and shooting bottle rockets :)

    We did see a great fireworks show several years ago on the warf in Chicago. It was stunning.

  12. I love the imagery of your writing in this post, Karen! You captured this holiday and the spirit of it so beautifully. The memories of past celebrations shared by neighbors was so poignant.


Sit down, have some red punch and cookies, and tell me EVERYTHING...

FEEDJIT Live Traffic Feed