Saturday, July 5, 2014

A Day Late

Old Glory rendered in poker chips

Yesterday I found myself remembering several 4th of July days from my past, comparing them to this year's. While it seems I've stored some lovely memories of the summer holiday, absolutely none of them bested yesterday.

And we spent it at home. Alone. Just our family.

The morning saw us working together to build a door for our guinea coop, children riding bikes in between stints of working, and my husband breaking in his new grill-smoker combo on a pork shoulder while I tried to help whenever the baby didn't need my attention.

Later we gathered out on the back porch to eat that amazing smoked pork, coleslaw (not amazing), and Cheetos (always amazing). My husband and I sat and did nothing for the first time in a really long time. Except at one point my husband felt the need to get up and weed one of the flower beds and move one of the plants to a place in the front yard. I didn't feel that need; I was good being lazy and watching the children play.

What did they play, you might ask. Well, there was my son, standing up and balancing on a gigantic plastic detergent barrel lying on its side. We have two such barrels, and there were all manner of acrobatic attempts made, both with and without barrels.  I even tried my hand at cartwheels, something I wasn't able to do very well as a kid. Let me tell you, saying I'm no good at cartwheels would be a gross overestimate. It was laughable.

Certainly they enjoyed blowing bubbles and chasing them around. The two-year-old wasn't adept at that game and ended up with about half the bottle of bubbles in her mouth; I guess she was sucking in instead of blowing out. Anyway, she was finally able to blow a few bubbles, straight from her mouth, no wand needed!

If you'd dropped in for a visit, at some point you would have seen the children throwing paper airplanes. You would also have seen them running around, trailing paper airplanes connected via staples and yarn to a plastic grocery bag. I don't know what that was about, but they got a kick out of it. Who am I to judge?

I don't recall another 4th when the weather was so sunny and the temperature so tolerable. It was only in the 70s with a gentle breeze. In fact, as the evening cooled down more,  I needed a jacket, and later I added a blanket.

The skies darkened, and the lightening bugs came out. The older boys had no problem locating them for a little catch-and-release fun. My 5-year-old daughter whined for a bit about not being able catch them herself until I reminded her that she caught lots last year. My husband and I cheered her on for encouragement and then cringed as she smacked her hands together, flat, a little too hard. Weren't we surprised when she opened her hands and showed us a living bug instead of a smear of phosphorescent glow paint!

Then, then it was time for the big surprise they'd already guessed but which we kept denying all day--fireworks! In Maryland, it seems, most fireworks are illegal. If they bang, it's a no-no. If they leave the ground, no good. So we completely enjoyed the collection of legal fountain-style fireworks sold at Sam's Club. The gentle crackles and fizzing sounds didn't frighten any of the little ones. We also were able to get quite a show just by looking at the surrounding countryside where people were setting off their own (not fountain-style) light shows.

All in all, it was a mighty fine day.

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