Yes, it sounds like a sixth grade essay title doesn't it? Maybe I'll think of something snazzier as I write. I'm leaving in a couple of hours for North Carolina to celebrate the 4th of July. I love this holiday. It's just so dang American. I have to say I have always always made a point of celebrating the 4th. Perhaps because tradition in my family dictates it, or maybe just because I have a thing for fireworks. I don't know. As far back as I can remember we have always celebrated the 4th. And almost every year of my life, I've celebrated it at Badin Lake. Of course, that was before I got married and moved away. This year though, we're going to Badin. I'm pretty excited about it.
When I was younger, we'd spend the entire week before cleaning up for our friends or family to come. My mom would cook and peel and slice and stock until her hands were about to fall off. My sister and I would clean the boats with Fantastik and 409 until we turned black on our arms and legs. My dad would get under the pier and knock off the fish eggs and attempt to de-slime everything. We would go all over the lake borrowing life jackets so we would have enough for everybody.
By midmorning of the 4th we were ready! By lunch time our friends (or in the early years our extended family) would arrive. It was such a great time. I would drink about 8 or 9 Dr. peppers in about 24 hours--which thrilled me to the core, because I wasn't normally allowed to drink that much coke (or soda whatever y'all call it). We'd cut about 6 watermelons and eat them on the pier (my dad would come behind us and toss buckets of lake water on the dock to clean it off). We'd sneak out later and toss the rinds in the woods.
About dark when we were all exhausted, sunburned, tired, and well-fed, those of us left would jockey for the best seat on the boat and head out to the fireworks. Inevitably I was always the one who had to ride in the back and hold the light (it wouldn't work unless you held it a certain way with your mouth open). Spitting bugs and spitting mad, I would hold the light while we drove. It was always me, because I was the older kid, I would do what I was told, and my arms were the longest (never be the oldest, most obedient, and tallest girl in the group).
Now that I'm grown and I have my own kids. The last 10 or 12 years I've been accumulating newer 4th memories. There is the one I spent with my best friend in Boston. Fireworks and Pops on the River was an awesome experience, plus her family is something else. We had a great time. Then there is the one I spent at Patrick Henry Village near Heidelberg, Germany (a military base of sorts). I was determined to find a place to celebrate the 4th properly while abroad! Then there was the one in Iowa City. We covered our 1 month old (at the time) with mosquito netting and set out for the city ball fields for the fireworks. So I celebrated with Middle America once too! The last 3 years we've celebrated here in our small town by watching the town parade with friends and going to the Lion's Club barbeque at the town park. Then we return to the fairway on number 7 to watch fireworks at night. It's a big block party on the golf course complete with contraband beer, lawn chairs, bug spray, and really tired toddlers running around in glow-in-the-dark necklaces so we kind find them later.
Anyway, the 4th of July is one of my favorite sense memories. It's more of a collective memory over about 30 years worth of memories. I am excited to be going home (while I didn't grow up on Badin itself, I went there all summer all my life at home). I hope my boys will have as much fun as I did. I plan too! And if you're at Badin this weekend, y'all come.