Wednesday, July 04, 2007

July 4, 2007

Seems impossible that it's already the Fourth of July again.

We're going to char some animal flesh on the grill, and generally eat ourselves silly. I'll definitely have to wear my stretchy shorts.

I was trying to remember some of the Fourths of July in the past. I can't remember very many of them specifically, but I feel like trying.

I just flat don't remember any from my childhood, other than shooting fireworks, but those could have been on any holiday. We popped firecrackers at every opportunity, so I won't count those times. Like I said, I'm going for specific memories.

My Dad always grilled hamburgers and hot dogs, so that's what I do too.

Anyway, here goes, in no particular order:

1. I remember when it was the summer before either my eleventh grade or twelfth grade year. Don C. (my Dad) worked off shore on drilling rigs for oil in the Gulf of Mexico. I mention this, because if ANYTHING broke, if anyone got sick, whatever, it would be the week Don C. was off shore. He was gone a week, then home a week.

So on this particular Fourth of July, which would have either been 1978 or 1979, while Don C. was gone, our air conditioner broke. The heat and humidity of Monroe, Louisiana in July has to be experienced to be believed. I've lived in Texas, Georgia, and Florida, and none compare to the heat and humidity of Louisiana.

Fortunately our home had an attic fan. It's a massive electric fan built into the ceiling of the hallway usually, where you open the windows of the house, turn on this fan and it's so powerful that a good breeze is sucked through the whole house into the attic by this one fan. One problem though, when the outside temperature is 98degrees F, and the humidity is 85%-95%, the breeze is only marginally helpful.

But, it was a breeze, and we dealt with it until the service people could come out and repair the unit several days later. I remember spending the night of the Fourth having pushed my bed over to where I was laying under one of my bedroom windows, and trying to sleep, in only a pair of briefs.

That attic fan was the difference between sanity and insanity.

2. In the summer of 1990, Lovely Wife and I, and Numbers One and Two Daughter were living in the Atlanta, Georgia area.

We drove up to Gatlinburg, Tennessee to stay a few days and go to Dollywood. When we got into the hotel in Gatlinburg, we found out that the city has it's annual Fourth of July parade starting at 12:01am on July 4 every year.

So on the night of July 3/4, we walked from the hotel down to the main street through Gatlinburg and watched their Fourth of July parade. The girls were little then, and they thought it was massively cool to stay up late and go see a parade in the middle of the night. I must say that Lovely Wife and I felt the same way.

That's an easy Fourth of July to remember because of the place and unusual circumstances.

3. In the late 1980s Lovely Wife and I were living in The Colony, Texas, north of Dallas and went to see the city's Fourth of July fireworks. This was 1989.

Nothing special with the fireworks, they were much like any small town's, nicely done, but not anything to write home about.

The reason we remember it, was that I was wearing a Hawaiian style shirt that night. Instead of big flowers and garish colors, it was basically white with small emblems, prints of something or other all over the shirt.

We were on our way home from the fireworks and drove through Taco Bell and when I got up to the pickup window, this big black lady working there leaned out to hand me the food and then just stepped back and put one hand on a hip and looked at me like I was a bad boy and asked real loud, "Is you in yo pajamas!?"

Neither of us had realized it, but when she asked that, we realized that was EXACTLY what that shirt looked like, a man's pajama top, so we all had a laugh, while I tried to deny being out driving around with my family while in my pajamas.

It made that Fourth of July memorable. I love encountering people like her, fun, loud, and sassy.

4. In 1987, when we were living in Bedford, Texas, between Fort Worth and Dallas, Number One Daughter was about a year and a half old, I grilled some hamburgers and hot dogs outside and went through the trouble of making one little bitty hamburger, cutting up bread to make her a small bun for it and everything and, of course, me being me, took pictures of them. (Her and the little hamburger.)

5. In about 1994, we were living in Monroe, Louisiana again and I was back in school. My Father in Law wanted to go down to the Ouachita River to watch the fireworks they were supposed to shoot from a barge out in the river.

All of us that wanted to went, and we got as close as we could the ground zero for the fireworks and parked. We walked closer, and eventually walked carefully out over the river on this old train bridge there to look down river to see the show. All the while hoping no trains would come.

I've posted several photos of that train bridge on both of my blogs, but on this night, it was hot and humid as few places other than Louisiana can get. Out over the river, there was still no wind to blow away the mosquitoes, so it was miserably hot, humid, and the mosquitoes were having a feast on everyone out that night.

To add insult to injury, the fireworks show started about 20 minutes later than the advertised start time, so we got some extra 'skeeter bites to scratch on in the coming days.

6. Another is the July 4th, 1986. Lovely Wife and I and Number One Daughter had moved to Bedford, Texas from Bossier City, Louisiana just a couple of months before.

We lived in this tiny, two bedroom apartment, and I remember watching the fireworks show on TV from New York City. It was the 100th anniversary of the raising of the Statue of Liberty, and they had just finished several years of renovations to her. That Fourth of July was the unveiling of the repaired Liberty.

I just remember sitting in that apartment and Lovely Wife and I watching the amazing fireworks over New York Harbor, and the snazzy looking Liberty without all the lacework of platforms around her from the constructions/repairs.

7. Then last year, July 4, 2006, Lovely Wife and I went out to the beach to watch the Space Shuttle Discovery launch.

We grilled food later that day, and ate ourselves into a Thanksgiving-like stupor, but the majesty of the Shuttle lifting off on July 4th was something we won't soon forget. Here's a photo of the beach here last Fourth of July, and in the center distance you can see Discovery lifting off.

That's enough. Go enjoy your day.


photowannabe said...

Great memories John and the last about the liftoff on the 4th is really special.
have fun a grillin and a chewin.

Travis said...

Happy Independence Day.

Qtpies7 said...

That would be fun to see the shuttle launch on the 4th! We saw a launch one time when we were "visiting" in FL. (dh was working and we went along to play)
We all trudged out of the hotel and watched a big fireball go through the sky late at night. There wasn't a launch while we were there last year, bummer.

Norma said...

Great photos and stories. A few more and it could have been your TT.