Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Fourth of July: Traditions and Innovations

"For instance:  you realize that every summer we do things over and over we did the whole darn summer before?"
"Like what, Doug?"
"Like making dandelion wine, like buying new tennis shoes, like shooting off the first firecracker of the year, like making lemonade, like getting slivers in our feet . . . Every year the same things, same way, no difference.  That's one half of summer, Tom."
"What's the other half?"
"Things we do for the first time ever."
-from Dandelion Wine, by Ray Bradbury

Certain things must happen each year for me to feel that it is truly the 4th of July, including but not limited to:  swimming in Walloon Lake and zooming around on the boat at least once; eating brunch at Bay View Inn and taking cousin-pictures on the croquet lawn after; joining the throngs of red-white-and-blue bedecked parade-goers in Harbor Springs; getting Tom's Mom's cookies and lemonade to add to the picnic lunch we eat down by the water; wading in the always-freezing bay; getting balloons for the girls; sitting on the curb in the hot sun to watch the parade; getting squirted by the fire trucks as they bring up the end of the line of floats; watching the two sets of fireworks explode simultaneously over the bay late at night.  And as it has been in years past, it was again this year.

And then there were the things that we did for the first time ever, like

Annie catching her first fish (a small-mouth bass) and eating it later that same day;

all the little girls (with a little help from the moms) making a dessert that they take turns choosing for the occasion;

spending a long, languid afternoon on the family porch with mojitos, ribs, and grocery-store fireworks while waiting for the big show to start;

taking Annie and Jemma tubing on our last afternoon there and watching as they held on for dear life and bounced around with glee;

letting all the cousins have a sleepover at Mimi's while the brothers and wives stayed in town for the night, eating and drinking our way until some people were blatantly asleep on the couch.

Both halves of this very wonderful holiday weekend = so, so good.

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