Fourth of July, exactly one week left in my morning pages book, and I still haven’t chosen another. This bothers me. I certainly have enough notebooks from which to choose, and, when the day comes, I will be at my secretary desk, pen in hand and putting something on the very first page. That’s not the issue. It is, however, in line with the whole changey nature of life in general, so I’m going to let it be what it is.
The Fourth of July celebrations I remember best are the ones from my childhood. We’d head over to Aunt S2’s house (I had two Aunt S’s as a kiddo, both the close-friend-of-a-parent sort, and to further complicate matters, both were married to Uncle G’s. For clarity’s sake, Aunt S is the one who wrote books, and Aunt S2 threw Fourth of July celebrations that set the bar for the summer holiday, as far as I’m concerned. Kind of the summer version of Aunt S’s Christmases. Their respective spouses are Uncle G and Uncle G2.) around noonish or slightly thereafter, and not return home until close to midnight.
Aunt S2, I should mention, was actually originally British. She met Uncle G2, an American, in the UK, love bloomed, she crossed the pond, and I am not sure how it was she became the hostess of the Independence Day festivities (including the Bicentennial,) but she did. I never gave that much thought while growing up, nor did I ever find out if she ever became a US citizen. Mysteries for the ages, those, but what isn’t mysterious is how vividly I remember those celebrations. Watching each new arrival, to see what foodstuffs they brought to the communal table was a big deal for us kiddos, as was climbing all over the swing set in the back yard, and getting permission to play “in the field.” The field was not an actual field, but a sizeable patch of grass flanking Aunt S2’s house and the apartment complex adjacent. There was a fenced-in enclosure in the middle of it, the setting for many improvised imaginative play sessions that somehow remotely involved gardening.
The year Uncle G2 put a kiddo-sized plastic tire swing in the tree near the entrance gate, that became the hot ticket ride for the younger set. Our most forbidden pastime was putting leaves on the grill, to watch them change. Adults usually put an end to this as soon as humanly possible. There would be a whole watermelon brought out at some point, received with all the enthusiasm of a birthday cake, and, once night had fallen, we’d all pack into various vehicles, laden with lawn chairs, and head to the high school track to watch the fireworks. I don’t think any fireworks are going to match the impact of those in my memory, though the current year is welcome to try, with a caveat that fireworks aren’t always a happy thing for everyone. Pretty, sure, but scary for pets, combat veterans, and others, so I don’t think fireworks as an adult can be the same as they were for me as a kid.
After the fireworks, the 2s and their kiddos would follow us to our home, where the younger set would mostly giggle about being up that late, while the adults …well, I’m not entirely sure what the adults were doing. I do remember special desserts my mom had made, waiting for this private afterparty, and there may have been adult beverages for those old enough to partake. At some point, the 2s took their sleepy kiddos home, and my parents somehow convinced me to go to bed, even though I was not tired and had plenty more holiday left in me, or so I claimed between yawns.
Fast forward to now. Lovely apartment in a beautiful city, but no back yard, though we can watch the fireworks display from our balcony, which is an experience in itself. I’m looking forward to that. Since both Real Life Romance Hero and Housemate are spending their days helping others enjoy their holiday, as they work, respectively in the restaurant industry and retail, that leaves me with some time on my hands.
Today’s desk picture is my robot lock screen and Paris mug, because it doesn’t feel like the Fourth to me. Not sure what’s up with that. I got excited for Canada Day, and I’m not even Canadian. I am going to call writerbrain on this one. Having a day to take in creative fodder helps to put it out the rest of the week, and that’s a good thing. As an extrovert, trying to replicate a celebration that, to me, should involve lots of people, with only a few is draining, so those childhood Fourths remain as they were, the soft golden glow of nostalgia cranking them up a notch or two from what they actually were. I’m still finding out what a proper Fourth would mean to me, in the now.
Maybe it’s time to marathon favorite episodes of Sleepy Hollow, or revisit some of the American Revolution romances that were all the rage when I first became aware of the genre. Maybe it’s time to stream the Hamilton soundtrack, or see if any cable channels are airing 1776. Celebrating the Fourth is a fallow holiday for me right now, a resting period to let things settle and see what else can grow there in the future. In that light, I think today’s meh-ness kind of fits. I’m impatient with holidays, like I am with writing. I want the whole thing, with all the blinky lights and fireworks and ohmigosh, J brought her special baked beans, this is the best day everrrrrr moments, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
There’s only another layer. As a kid, it was enough to pick out an outfit, get in the back seat, and get out when the car stopped moving. There it would all be -holiday! Whee! How it got there was the grownups’ problem. Works the same way with holidays or books. Now, I am one of the grownups. Different vantage point, so of course it’s going to be a different view. Back then, I knew what the covers of historical romance novels looked like. Now, I read them, write them, and write about them. As an adult, I’m not only a consumer of book or holiday, but an active participant in the creation of both, whether the scale is large or small. Still figuring it all out, but also still highly in favor of tire swings. Make of that what you will.