I remember loving the Fourth of July as a kid. It was great fun when we were growing up on the East Coast because no one does July 4th like the nation’s capital! Later, living in the west, there weren’t as many live bands, symphonies and fireworks. Cool and dry evenings made up for it and we loved going to parks for the whole night. In 1976, my brothers and I went from our home in Salt Lake City, Utah to visit our grandparents in Vienna, Virginia. My paternal grandmother took us to a huge family reunion in the Virginia countryside, so we spent the Fourth with extended family. What I remember most is that my mother had bought the three of us stars and stripes, bicentennial overalls. Can you believe what a sight we must have been? I was 12, Peter was 10 and Paul was 6. I sure wish I had a photo of us that day. We thought we were very sporty! As awful as this sounds, they were pretty cool overalls. The fabric pattern was actually kind of charming. It was white denim imprinted with eagles, Minutemen, Liberty Bells and 1776 emblazoned on it in red and blue. We wore red tee shirts and felt like proud, young Americans! I scoured the net to find a photo of the fabric but the closest I could come was the swatch shown below found as a Pinterest pin saved by Teddy’s Treasure Trove:
Having spent some of my formative years in the East, American and Colonial design was familiar to me. My mother always says Williamsburg, Virginia is one of her favorite places in the world. My family loved Colonial style homes like the one shown above, courtesy of HGTV.
And we routinely had interiors like this one from an Ethan Allen Gallery circa 1974. I am pretty sure my parents had at least one, if not a pair of lamps, featuring the Liberty Bell!
These days, we often stay out of the heat and sneak a peek at fireworks from our second floor. It’s not a perfect or full-show view, but we like to cook and make some cocktails and wait for the boom to run upstairs and hang out the windows. Other years we walk or bike to one of the pedestrian bridges to see the downtown display.
Last year was one for the books. Jon and I arrived in Ketchikan, Alaska around 11 a.m. on July 4. There was just enough time to take the ferry from the airport to downtown and make it to the parade (photo below on the right). My sister-in-law’s family sets up a grill and cooks out in their boat shop, overlooking the harbor every year. It was the perfect way to enjoy a hot dog over the water and then turn around and face the street to see a small town Independence Day parade.
Later that evening, we got together at another sister-in-law’s house for a delicious Alaska feast of salmon and crab.
Since we had launched our new boat, I suggested we watch the fireworks from the water. We took popsicles and Prosecco – one of my favorite summer treats — and thoroughly enjoyed seeing the fireworks reflected on the unusually calm waters of the channel. (Southern Living magazine shares the popsicles and Prosecco on this page. See slide 8 in the gallery of photos.)
This year my mother will visit us in Houston. She’s been sticking close to home because of COVID and is looking forward to the visit. We will probably just enjoy being together at home, do some grilling, have drinks on the patio and perhaps venture upstairs for the viewing yet again – social distancing at its best!
Which summer holiday traditions do you embrace from your childhood? Which traditions have you adopted from others? How, if at all, will the COVID-19 pandemic influence your July 4th celebrations? Add your comments below. We want to hear from you.