One of our family's favorite stories is from when my younger cousins Ben and Joe were little bitty boys. Joe sensed nature calling at a most inopportune time, and as is every boy's privilege, he just went behind a tree. But Joe was very young and he was scared of the noise from the fireworks. So he asked his big brother to hold his ears while he did his business. "Ben, will you hold my ears while I tee tee?" Poor Joe has to hear that story over and over again. Now he's all grown up and starting a career as a firefighter. Our family is so proud of his bravery and all-around awesomeness!
Here's a list of some fourth of July memories from over the years.
1995 - My grandma let me borrow her Mustang convertible for the holiday weekend. I only had my learner's permit, so one of my parents was always with me while I drove. As I stepped on the gas for the first time and felt the strength of the V8 engine, I fell in love! (A few months later, Memaw gave me that car for my 16th birthday.)
2000 - Curt and I had been dating for a couple of weeks. Both of my parents were out of town and wouldn't let us in the house while they were gone, so we hung out on the porch all night. We brought a little TV out there and watched What About Bob. Random! Of course, my sister and her boyfriend didn't care what my parents said and they stayed inside. We love giving her a hard time about that. And, no, she didn't get in trouble!
2004 - That summer we celebrated our second anniversary and were living in England. It was a little sad not being in the USA for the Fourth of July, but some friends from the church put together a little party to celebrate. Wasn't that kind of them? They served dinner inside the church gym and some British folks we didn't know did a line dancing demonstration. I remember getting tickled about the very serious expressions on their faces. During our five months abroad, I learned what deep connections people have to the places they're from. I remember longing to see big, round Texas oak trees and tall, skinny pines. We visited the Texas Embassy in London that summer and I nearly cried when we walked into the restaurant and saw everything that looked and tasted like home. England is fabulous but there's just that tie to home you can never get over.
2005 - I was barely pregnant with Jackson. I don't know if we'd even told any of our friends yet. We got in the FBC Irving church bus and went to see the fireworks in downtown Dallas. I chewed Preggie Pops the whole time to keep myself from getting sick. I swear if I tasted one of those things now, I would probably lose my lunch.
2007 - We had several families over to our house for a cookout. The toddlers played in baby pools in the front yard. Jackson was going through a really unfortunate party foul phase and he swallowed some water and puked in the pool. It was sick. Later we set up chairs alongside 114 to watch the fireworks over Las Colinas. We waited and waited, then finally we heard the booming of the fireworks. But where were they? We didn't get the memo that they were going off in the courtyard of some very tall buildings. We missed the whole thing and we were right there! Even so, it was a great memory. I think all the babies fell asleep on our laps.
2008 - I was pregnant with Annabeth and at the peak of misery with morning sickness. My parents invited us over for dinner and since I could barely serve my family sandwiches without getting sick, we took them up on their offer of food. In a brilliant move, my parents made chili dogs. CHILI DOGS. I sat in the living room with my head in my hands, willing myself not to throw up, while everyone else had a great time around the dinner table. Later, Curtis lit up some smoke bombs with Jackson and he ended up being utterly traumatized. For the next year he freaked out anytime he saw smoke.
2009 - Last year my whole family (except for Colin) was together at a beach house in Galveston. It was so much fun! We swam in a pool, had dinner at Gaido's, and watched fireworks from a third story deck on top of the house. We could see every fireworks display on the island and many on the mainland. Some neighbors' fireworks got a little too close, so we moved down to the second floor deck. What a great memory.
2010 - We spent the morning at church and had a spontaneous lunch with our friends Andy and Corey and their son Whitt. That was great fun. On the way home, we got a few little fireworks and I grabbed a watermelon and some peaches from a farmer's stand. I pointed to the farm across the street and told Jackson that this fruit was grown right there! Then I noticed that the peaches had stickers on them - stickers that said "Georgia Peaches." What?!?! They redeemed themselves by being juicy and delicious.
Last night we had Chuy's fajitas over at my parents' house. Then we packed into the Suburban like sardines and headed to Pine Forest Country Club - the place of so many 4th of July memories - to see the fireworks. Someone had hooked us up with tickets and after more than ten years we would get to have that experience again. And with Jackson and Annabeth! Jackson was in heaven watching the fireworks and we're certain he has a bright future as a sports color commentator. He described every single thing he saw. (I wonder where he gets that?) Annabeth screamed and cried during the fireworks and my sweet husband took her inside a building. He tried to get her to enjoy the fireworks by playfully saying "Wheeee!" every time one burst. So she would cry "Wheeee!" Poor baby. Hopefully we'll get to go back another time when she's old enough to appreciate it. I should tell her, though, that little girls really don't get the "go behind a tree" privilege.
We were in the last row and dad's legs reached all the way up to the front. This picture was supposed to catch that but didn't quite achieve the envisioned greatness.
My dad and grandpa.
Jackson and Hannah running and rolling down a hill.
My grandma and my cousins' other grandma, Mrs. Carroll.
Mom with Annabeth, Hannah and John. My cousins just moved home from Japan!
Jackson and me.
Jackson and Bibby.