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Archive for July 1st, 2010

I was in a totally weird, nostalgic mood the other day and started to reflect on all the things that make me think of the 4th of July.

Besides the obvious like barbecues, fireworks and flying flags, there were several things that brought back fun memories.

The small town we occasionally frequented when we escaped life on the farm always “put on the dog” (as my Grandma liked to say) for the 4th of July. They didn’t get overly excited for any other holiday, but the 4th of July was when they pulled out all the stops and visitors would actually come to town.

The fun usual began on July 1 and ended the 4th of July – depending on the days of the week. But you could count on four days of excitement every summer.

There were events in the park, a rodeo every night, a suicide race that always made my mom nearly faint (and I’m sure that couldn’t be attributed to the participation of family members in said event), and a parade.

Dad's car is the turquoise one in the lead. My brother is drooling over the car behind dads.

Usually one, if not more, family members would participate in the parade. In later years, my brother and dad joined the car club and drove their old cars. Dad has a 1959 Chevy Bel Air that is his pride and joy. If there is a parade, he is in it. It is a lot of fun for us to watch and cheer him on from the sidelines.

One year my brother wanted to play old-time music from his car while driving it along the parade route, so I played “In the Good Ol’ Summertime” on the piano so many times for him to record it (remember back before you could download any song you wanted in less than 60 seconds?) that I have yet to make peace with it again.

Way back in the days when I worked for the local newspaper, I used to walk the entire parade route before it started snapping photos, then Hubby and I would camp out at the end of the parade and wait for Dad to drive by.

The rodeo was another highlight of my 4th of July memories. The first one I remember going to was when I was maybe 5 or 6. Dad took me to the local saddle shop, which also sold all sorts of wonderful western things like boots, hats and belts. That is where I first learned to appreciate the smell of leather. I remember getting a belt with a shiny silver buckle. A tiny little gold saddle was in the middle of the buckle. I loved that thing. I felt like a genuine cowgirl whenever I put it on. I also remember having a little purple suede purse and some brown cowboy boots. Boy, it was awesome!

Also during my newspaper days, I’d go to the rodeo every night and take oodles of photos. Taking the photos meant we always had great seats and were up close to the action. My mother would start gasping during the saddle bronc event and would be practically comatose by the time the bull riding ended. I don’t think she ever really enjoyed the rodeo. The rest of us were hungry for adventure and ready for excitement. The rodeo never failed to provide either. Those were some really good times.

We always had a barbecue on the 4th – either at our house or at one of my aunt’s homes. We’d all eat until we were stuffed then hurry off to the parade followed by the rodeo. There were fireworks shows to be watched after the rodeo, but we most often went home and created our own display of fireworks that mostly involved poppers, sparklers, ground flowers and bottle rockets.

The 4th of July was never complete unless we had a bunch of Idaho Spud bars, chilled in the fridge to snack on between barbecue fests. You can read about why I love these candy bars here.

What good memories do you have of the 4th of July? Family traditions?

Whatever you do to celebrate the 4th this year, be it some savvy entertaining at home or just hanging out with friends, may it be a safe, fun, and memorable celebration for you!

Happy Entertaining!

Shanna

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