Sunday, July 04, 2010

favorite day of the year

Watching the fireworks with my siblings - J.R., Beth, me, Ann

I can’t remember ever having a bad Fourth of July.

Our whole family is usually together. Sort of like Christmas, without all of the pressure.

1976 was fun – we had a party at the farm. Mom made sure that each of us had our picture taken waving a hand-held flag. I’m sure the picture is in a box of photographs somewhere. And I’ll find it someday.

I’m sure I had a year or two of eye-rolling teenage angst, but they’re long forgotten.

My adult appreciation of Independence Day formed in my Riverton, NJ years. Riverton throws a good party. The Riverton Yacht Club is one of  the oldest yacht clubs in the country. Lest you think it’s too fancy, it’s a dock with a building. It was in Riverton that I discovered the power of water. Almost every night I would walk the two blocks to the Yacht Club and stick my toes in the river.

One year the Riverton celebration featured a fundraising auction. I realized that the most interesting man there was also the donor of an airplane ride over Philadelphia. I boldly bid and won. He seemed pleased about it too.

We took the ride a few weeks later and had a lovely day. Flying over Philadelphia and down the Delaware River was thrilling and sitting next to the pilot in the two-seater plane was delightful too. I can’t remember the extent of the relationship that summer, but we did hang out a few times after that and I remember a slightly tipsy make-out session on my balcony. I can’t remember his name but I do remember that he was real involved in the community. Ironically, I remember being a little turned off by his community work. In retrospect he seems like my ideal date. It’s amazing what a few decades did for my maturity.

When I moved back to Indiana I wormed my way into the Herr family party. The routine didn’t vary much over the years. Parade in Lebanon, stop for a treat at Ice Cream Paradise, Herr’s for a cookout and an amazing fireworks show launched off of a flatbed wagon.

Occasionally I’d bring friend or boyfriend along. Kids were born –Molly’s first year, she was two weeks old. The next July 4th she was crawling – and some fireworks fall-out fell a little too close for comfort. Ann Herr Mitchell and I brushed off the live embers and didn’t complain. We didn’t want to draw attention to how close they’d come to sweet Molly.

I reconnected with Jerry at the Herr’s one year and he explained blogging to me. Almost 500 posts later, here we are. Speaking of blogging, I spent 2008 at Blogstock. A memorable and fun year – we were in the Tekema, NE parade and I got to connect with wonderful people.

Then Mr. Herr died. And then Larry and Kathy died. And the party at the Herr home farm faded away. It was time for a new tradition.

Brother J.R. and his lovely family started hosting us on the terrace of Victory Field for the Indianapolis Indians game and the best view in town for the fireworks.

The traditions change – but it is still my favorite day of the year.

1 comment:

Jerry in Indiana said...

The Herrs had an extraordinary fireworks show this year and the smoke nearly cleared away all the skeeters. I'm glad the weather was good as this will probably be my last Indiana 4th of July.

Glad I could give you a boost in getting you started on blogging. I certainly have enjoyed your writing.