How did you celebrate the 4th of July? These days, people like to say it’s not about a barbecue, but I look back at the early days of our country, and I think family celebration might have been in order. Our forefathers (and mothers) built a new home in a new land for their families. A country where we make our own laws and forge our own destiny.
I’m thinking when they announced the Declaration of Independence, people celebrated this frightening, unbelievable, independent new venture with the people they loved best.
We’re a little bit stranded around here. The husband had a knee replacement several weeks ago, and he’s much better, but he still has a bad day now and then. We had friends over and we made a low-country boil. I roasted some vegetables, and we had a strawberry-blueberry shortcake, with homemade whipped cream.
Afterward, the husband was apparently a little too sore from standing over the cauldron, adding potatoes and sausage and shrimp and corn and crab legs. After we ate dinner, we watched fireworks from all around the neighborhood, and he iced his knee. Our celebrations were not fancy, but we were together, and we remembered that it was the day our country was born. It was a good day.
Sunday, I painted my office. I can’t wait until it’s finished. It’s my own personal place of independence, where I can shut a door and work without interruption. I love the people who interrupt me most often, but when I’m in the middle of one world, it’s like waking from a deep sleep to find myself needed in reality, and then I have to burrow back in again. Pretty often, in my busy house. The office is a room over the husband’s new garage. (Doesn’t every man need two garages?)
I was painting in the heat and humidity of a July day in the south (a/c comes after the paint), when I thought of carrying everything I own on my back, wearing a woolen coat and trousers. I was in shorts and a T-shirt, with sweat pouring off me. I’m painting an office because I love to write, and it’ll be a nice place to work. But I’m doing what I want to do on a hot July day in 2015 because some guys in 1776 conceived of liberty. And come to think of it, I know the names of the men on both sides of my family who fought in that war, so their many times great-granddaughter could be free. Remembering them, I’m celebrating family and the birth of my country.
So—what did you do?
Tell me how you celebrated, and I'll choose a name from the comments. I’d love to trade someone a new book for a good story!