Monday, July 05, 2010

Fourth of July Favorites

When Melissa and I were kids, we spent every single fourth of July at Pine Forest Country Club. Our grandparents were members during that season of life and I can't even tell you how much of our childhood was spent there. On the 4th, we'd go in the early evening and swim in the pool. Then we'd have some barbecue and watermelon to pass the time before it got dark enough for the main event. As the sun set, families would start to scatter across the golf course and spread their blankets across the hills. After the longest time imaginable, the fireworks would finally start shooting up above the tall pine trees. They'd go up one at a time for a while, then two at a time, all the while building anticipation for the spectacular grand finale. It never got old.

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.



Curtis Jones.



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.





Happiness.



32 comments:

Lisa said...

Amanda, I promise I read every word, but I can't get over your toned arms. You have inspired me to walk every night after the kids go to bed. I don't think running and I will be friends anytime soon, but anything that puts me in forward motion has gotta do some good! Thanks so much for sharing your 4th of July retrospective. It brought back so many of my own memories (and I was terrified of the fireworks just line Annabeth!)

Your "tee tee" story reminded me of the time we were on a road trip back from my parents' house in the central part of our state. Our older son had to go so badly, and we were still about 60 miles out from home. My husband pulled over and let him do his business in the woods. He made it a point to tell everyone on earth what Daddy let him do. I'll be sure to blackmail him with this later on long after he stops thinking it's cool.

Missy @ It's Almost Naptime said...

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.

oh, the memories you brought back with that line. The bad, bad memories!

Julie Marler (Mammy) said...

Loved your post on all your 4th of July memories!!! And especially LOVED the last picture of your mom and Jackson looking up at the fireworks!
My granddaughter asked me yesterday, "Mammy, can we come to your house tonight and crack some fireworks??!" Loved it!
Mammy

Kristen said...

Ahhhh Pine Forest Country Club...still pretty sure we swam there together growing up.

Alana said...

sounds ike you guys had a wonderful time! Mac was not a fan of the fireworks either. Maybe next year...

Lauren Kelly said...

Loved this. Such great memories from over the years and sounds like 2010 4th of July did not disappoint for ya'll. Great pics!! :)

Marc and Charity said...

So much fun! I love the porch story. I've been paranoid all weekend since my brother's girlfriend came into town. I had hawk eyes!

Patty said...

I enjoyed this post so much! Cute pictures!

Missy said...

I am so impressed you remembered so many fun memories. Glad y'all had such a great day!

Uncanny Colleen said...

Wheeeee!

Living day by day for Jesus said...

LOVE the pics! Your memory from England reminded me of my 4th in 2000! I spent the summer in England doing mission work and we got our British AND American friends together there to host "Good Riddance Day!" It was fun! One I will never forget!

Kristen Love said...

The look on Jackson's face in that last picture with your mom is priceless :-)

Tabaitha Kaye said...

The expression on Jackson's face in the last picture with your mom is priceless!

ChelseaSalomone said...

That last picture is priceless!! Happy Fourth!

balmingilead said...

Amanda, you are one of the funniest people in the blog world. I love the way you write about things with your dry sense of humor...it isn't forced or fake, it's funny.
Glad you had a great 4th. I can commisserate with one child loving the fireworks and the other wanting to be as far away from them as possible.
Amy

Beth.. One Blessed Nana said...

i just love reading your take on family events. you are so funny!

glad y'all had such a great time.

Beth Herring

Carrie said...

Loved this post! And that last picture is priceless!

katiegfromtennessee said...

Aw, hey Amanda!:) I loved your stories of Fourth of Julys past. The thing I remember doing the most each year was going up to my step-dad's parent's house and going to their parade, their country, and I do mean country fair:) and then staying till evening when they had fireworks:) We have pics my mom took of us each year, all five of us dressed up in red, white, and blue:) We still do that because we know it makes my momma happy:)

katiegfromtennessee

Heather said...

My favorite is you getting that car you loved a couple of months later, what a great memory for you!! Glad you guys had a great 4th!! Looks like y'all had fun this year!

Amanda Rooney said...

OH.MY.WORD. I LOVE the last picture of your mom and Jackson. Absolutely priceless!!!

Shelli Littleton said...

I love it, Amanda! I did not know you had lived in England for five months ... I think that is what you said. Wow! I always sort of regret not having gone overseas when my husband was in the Air Force, but I know I would have missed home (Texas) so much. I did spend four years in Spokane, WA! That should count as far away from Texas as it is!!

I will never forget your Galveston 4th of July trip ... I was doing the mission article on Melissa and she text me while on the way there! I was tickled pink!!

Love you all!

jst said...

Don't you just love folk's brillant menu choices while your head is swimming and your tummy rolling. I spent 36 months nauseated from prgnancy...I have 3. Two are 12 months apart and that was the longest 24 months EVER !!

Angie said...

sounds like good times! my little girl, brooklynn, was scared to death at your little girls age and i had to sit in the car while my husband and son watched the fireworks and now she is and likes them but still doesn't love the noise...think it's a girl thing!

Cathy Davis said...

That last picture just captures it all doesn't it? Your dad is looking up too and I just love it!

When I was looking at the pictures on the LPM blog, I kept thinking just how precious AB is! And then, BAM there's Jackson and he's just precious too1 Really, you're all precious :0).

Thank you for the pictures. I love 'em. (My dogs aren't real happy during 4th of July either.)

Lindsee said...

I loved reading all your fun memories! There's just something about July 4th that's freeing. It's a holidy with friends, family and food, yet there is no stress of gifts. I love it! Glad y'all got to got back to Pine Forest. I've been to many receptions there. Gorgeous!

Erin said...

how funny - my fam were members at PFCC since i was 3 (dad was an avid golfer) and i, too, spent many a summer up at the pool (remember the high-dive board?) and 4th with those fireworks. such fun...love that place and all the memories.

Siesta OC said...

You are hilarious! And as I was watching the fireworks in the parking lot of my old middle school in Southern Oregon (I live in so.cal now) I got ear of a neighbor's plan to "go behind a tree." I was in disbelief! Happy 4th! (and now Happy 7th)

Nicole said...

Love the pics and fun memories! That last picture should be named "Sheer Bliss!!" Their smiles are great!!

So fun about PFCC. I grew up in the area and had a ton of friends who lived in Deerfield. I was part of the 1st graduating class of Wilson Elementary right down the road :) Also, saw on the LPM blog your sis went to LC. How fun. Graduated from there in 91...waaayyy back in the day! Have some good memories but surely did not know Jesus back. I am so thankful for His change and undeserving grace.

The Synnott's said...

i thought that place looked like somewhere i go. we go there for thursday steak night and the fall fests. looks like yall had a blast

Amber said...

I just found your blog through the M2M Blogroll. Looks like you had a wonderful 4th with your family. It's always nice to meet a fellow ministry wife. Love your blog!

Hi I'm Michelle said...

I've been following your blog on and off for awhile now and Annabeth looks so long in the pic with your mom holding her- boy doesn't time fly!

Lynn said...

Amanda,
I make cloth dolls based on women in the Bible. I'd love to give one to Annabeth if that's ok with you. If so, is there a particular character you especially like?
You can see some pics of them right now on my blog:
www.godsgalsministries.blogspot.com

Thanks for all you do for the Lord,
Lynn Langford