Today is July 4th, Independence Day here in America with visions of parades and barbecues and people getting together with friends and neighbors up and down the entire country. I remember my first July 4th barbecue way back in 1967. We had only been in the country for four months and so many of the American traditions and celebrated holidays were still new to us with the Independence Day celebration no exception. Actually, it was the first of the American Holidays that we celebrated.
My Mother, and her American Husband, Hermie who had sponsored us over, decided that they were going to put on an American July 4th picnic for the family with a few of the Neighbors thrown into the mix. We all drove to one of the local lakes and staked ourselves a spot that came complete with a barbecue pit and a couple of picnic tables. We were surrounded by other groups all duty bound to celebrate July 4th in the Good Old American Traditional way of the Barbecue. We were no different and although all this merrymaking was a bit strange to us stalwart British types, we vowed to join in and enjoy ourselves. As much as I can recall from an event that happened more than fifty one years ago, we had a good time and quickly learned the ropes of how to consume barbecued hot dogs covered in mustard and relish and in my case, drinking lots of beer. We even learned the good old standbye game of volleyball and the rudimentals of baseball as people from all different groups mixed together for the occasion and played pick up games for which we joined in with much enthusiasm and very little skill or knowledge of what we were doing.
Since that first July 4th celebration, many Independence Days have come and gone. Some have been celebrated with a different cast of players much as in the same way as the first one. My Mother and Stepfather are both gone and the children all grown with families of their own and far flung in this country. My wife at the time, you may well ask, a different story. Many Independence Days have been ignored either because there was nothing to celebrate at that particular time of my life or other circumstances that age by itself produces. I no longer eat hot dogs in any form or variety having decided that they are not the healthiest of food and due to an unfortunate run in with a local judge several years ago, no longer drink beer or any form of alcoholic beverage. To me, July 4th, Independence Day to this Great Nation, is just another day on the Calendar as are so many days as I age. Now, every day is something to celebrate.
Looking back to that very first celebration all of those years ago, I was pleasantly surprised by the enthusiasm shown by the many revellers at the picnic site we were at. We too were young then comparatively speaking with a whole new life ahead of us and it seemed very apt to be celebrating it the way we did on July 4th. Now, I am more than a little sad thinking of those events that happened half a century ago. Too bad that things didn’t work out as planned but that is a different story.
Written July 4, 2018