I was thinking last night, as we stood on my parents’ back porch with friends and watched the sky change colors from the fireworks we couldn’t see because trees were in the way (we had apparently missed the show), about how our Fourth of July celebrations always seem memorable. There was the Fourth of July when we owned a sailboat, and after the fireworks show on the lake I was sure we would die with all of the motorboats frantically rushing by us. There was the Fourth of July when the sprinklers went off right as we were settling down to watch fireworks. There was last Fourth of July, when we spent the day at the lake and then went to watch fireworks that got delayed by a torrential downpour.
Perhaps it is because we never have a set tradition on the holiday that Fourth of July memories stand out. Kind of like Thanksgiving (we eat in different places in different years and always remember the holiday by the things that happened–like the year our street had no water), our Fourth of July celebrations are always marked by what was unusual.
This year there were no fireworks. There was only rain all day as I baked rolls and brownies and we set up a table on the screened-in porch to eat. My dad cooked chicken and pulled pork. My mom made a blueberry pie and a mashed potato salad. We had a big pitcher of sangria. There were friends and family gathered around the table(s) in various chairs, scrunched together against the rain, and, as usual when my parents are cooking, there was too much food. We sat and talked until we could hardly see each other as the sky grew darker. And then there was more rain, the sky changing colors with shimmers of sparkles between the trees.