A Family 4th of July
4TH OF JULY: THE ALL AMERICAN HOLIDAY
I’ve always loved the 4th of July. I love the warm, even muggy weather of the midwest. It’s perfect for the 4th. I love the smells of BBQ that fill the neighborhoods. The laughter of families in their backyards, complete the picture. I doubt many of us spend much time thinking about the price paid for our unique freedoms. But we honor those who boldly asserted our independence in another way by celebrating the life we enjoy because of that audacious rebellion.
PLAYTIME WITH THE LITLE GIRLS
Gina always dresses the girls up in special, matching, outfits for special occasions. This 4th was no exception. The little red, white, and blue couture was just perfect for the day.
Just hanging out with family is a big part of the day. Sophie was keen on practicing her walking.. with a little help from Grandpa. And of course, there’s always grandpa’s glasses for entertainment.
RED, WHITE, AND BLUE FUN
Our little party included great-grandma, Kathleen, and uncle David, in addition to Mike, Gina and girls and, of course, granny and grandpa. Uncle David is always up for some fun and games to keep the girls occupied.
Sophie is a climber and loves to be hung upside down! Perhaps she’ll be a gymnast?
Brynn is more conservative, in general, but she thinks running around in circles is a good way to burn off some excess energy. Here, I caught her in a rare, quiet, contemplative moment. The calm between the storms, so to speak.
BBQ CHICKEN ET ALL
Steaks are great, tri-tip a family favorite, too, but for me bring on the BBQ chicken for the 4th of July. Many thanks to my brother Keith for doing the BBQ honors. To get that juicy BBQ chicken goodness I season the night before, and marinate in beer the day of. Don’t forget to liberally brush that seasoned beer marinade over the chicken as it cooks.. low and slow. Finish with BBQ sauce, please.. don’t skimp!
That wasn’t all we had of course. Appetizers: Grilled chipotle lime shrimp, tuna tataki, and sausage puffs. Dinner: BBQ Chicken, grilled corn on the cob, bacon spinach salad, potato salad, and herbed garlic french bread. Dessert: Key Lime pie and my personal favorite, Rice Krispie treats.
DINNER ON THE DECK
It’s always more fun when you can eat outside. Don’t worry about the bugs. As we explained to Brynnie, those gnats on her potato salad are hungry, and they don’t eat much! Elbows on the table are just fine too… eat with your fingers and don’t forget to lick them when they get all stick with BBQ sauce.
Enjoy a little family conversation and hope that no one mentions politics or religion to spoil the pure satisfaction of a warm summer evening. Laugh heartily, tell stories from days long gone, and sit back and loosen your belt when you’ve finished eating too much.
Enjoy the sounds of birds, and the neighbors laughing on their decks. And above all, get ready for the fireworks to come!
TIME TO LIGHT THE NIGHT
At long last, darkness fell. We all gathered out on the lawn, grabbed the bug spray, settled into our camp chairs and waiting for son Mike and son David to start the pyrotechnics. Some counties of Missouri are progressive enough to allow personal fireworks. Nights of neighborhood fireworks are strong memories from my childhood so I’m grateful that we can still enjoy that unique experience. Home-grown fireworks are not as grand, but certainly more present fireworks fun.
Sparklers bring out the kid in all of us. Brynnie was a bit hesitant about the noise and flash of the fireworks we were all enjoying so much so great-grandma volunteered to show her the way with sparklers. It might have started out as an attempt to help Brynn join in the fun, but soon 94 years young mom was just a kid again enjoying the sparkling lights, drawing light pictures in the night.
ANOTHER 4TH OF JULY IN THE BOOKS
It was a lovely day. No stress… no family drama… just lots of fun, food, and fireworks. It also marked the end of our visit to St. Louis. Bittersweet to be sure.