Sunday, July 4, 2010
Once Upon a 4th of July
More than any holiday, the 4th of July, conjures memories of my childhood. On Independence Day where I grew up, everyone gathered at the town Commons, ate from food stands, visited silly booths, rode in the fire truck and spent the entire day, together, just waiting for the sun to set so the world's smallest, most anti-climatic fireworks show could mark the holiday. It was (and still is) called Norris Day, and I loved it.
It was the first time in my childhood when I felt my own independence. My grandparents lived just steps from all the action so I would run back and forth all day - without constant supervision- between family and friends, checking to see if the homemade ice cream was frozen, and if Grandma's famous cherry pie was cooled. While I'm sure my parents were watching from afar - as were all the other parents of friends in town - the freedom I perceived on this day was fabulous to me. At 10 years old, I felt like a grown-up; the Commons was my Times Square.
I haven't been to Norris Day in a zillion years, and sadly, I know I wouldn't be as amused...not because it has lost its charm, but because I've just out grown my perspective of it all. I want to take my kids back there one day, though. When I do, I hope my grandma will still be around to make her pie. I hope the sense of community is still as vivid, and the fireworks show still as humble.
Today I'm celebrating 4th of July at the beach. I'll make homemade ice cream, my dad will grill all sorts of things. Mr. W will steam crabs. My friend Jocelyn, vactioning nearby, will join us for dinner. From my dad's house, you can see a fireworks show, and we've made a tradition of jumping in the pool for a night swim to watch. It will be relaxing, and it will be fun.
But it won't be the same as Norris Day.