Friday, July 04, 2008

let freedom ring... (and let's eat, too)

Happy July 4th!
I loved this holiday as a kid in Southern California. It was all about spending the day at the beach, eating sandwiches and watermelon sprinkled with sand, drinking warm lemonade, catching waves until you're completely exhausted from both water and sun, and then finally coming home for a shower and BBQ. Then back to the beach for fireworks. And one of the coolest things about it was that even though we really didn't know our neighbors very well, this was the one day where people poured out of their houses and paraded down to the beaches together. Everyone felt a part of something bigger.

The holiday feels different as an adult.
Since it doesn't get dark until about 10pm in the summer in Seattle, my kids have yet to experience a real fireworks display since they're usually in bed long before the show begins on top of the Space Needle. Also, since it's illegal to light your own fireworks (probably a very good thing), they have never experienced the thrill of holding a sparkler and dancing with it in the street. (I suppose it goes without saying that they've also missed all of the horror stories about kids getting burned or blowing their fingers off, but I digress...). And as much as we tried to pull it together to get to the lake today, we just couldn't do it because after our week of heat, it is now overcast and in the 60s again and nobody really feels like sitting in cold sand. (The photo is from last week's heat.)

But despite the differences, there's a feeling of excitement around. Everyone is getting BBQs together and wearing their shorts (with sweatshirts) in anticipation of the warm weather that always arrives just after July 4th. We're getting together with friends tonight and we're letting the kids stay up (if they can) to watch fireworks over the water.

And the kids are as excited for tonight as we ever were when we were kids. They're on vacation and beginning to relax (as am I, thank goodness!), they're thrilled about stayng up late for the show, and all of our neighbors are out in their yards chatting about plans for tonight, their gardens, their vacations. There is a genuine holiday feel to the day.

So I think the key to this holiday is to spend it like a kid. Eat good food, play in whatever sun you can find, and spend time with friends and family. And despite all of our country's problems, and there are many, we've got it pretty good and it's good to have a day to remember that.

Happy 4th!

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