Reader Roundup is a weekly update on what’s going on in my world. Welcome!
“The Fourth of July – also known as Independence Day or July 4th – has been a federal holiday in the United States since 1941, but the tradition of Independence Day celebrations goes back to the 18th century and the American Revolution. On July 2nd, 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence, and two days later delegates from the 13 colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence, a historic document drafted by Thomas Jefferson. From 1776 to the present day, July 4th has been celebrated as the birth of American independence, with festivities ranging from fireworks, parades and concerts to more casual family gatherings and barbecues.” See the full article HERE.
Looking back, July 4th was always a fun family day. I don’t recall my parents teaching us anything about the Holiday itself or why we celebrated it, and as a child I’m almost certain it would have gone over my head. I was more interested in the evening cookout, homemade ice cream, watermelon, and fireworks.
I may be mistaken, but I seem to recall July 4th was one of the few times we used the grill. Perhaps it was because meat was expensive and feeding our large family wasn’t easy. Pasta goes a lot farther on a budget than beef! Dad would cook hot dogs and hamburgers while Mom served potato salad, baked beans and other picnic type foods such as chips and pop.
Making the ice cream came before the the grill was fired up, and I was probably in my teens before the old hand cranked device gave up the ghost. It always took at least two of us to get the job done – one to crank the handle and the other to sit on the top (cushioned with a folded rug) to keep the blue wooden bucket from tipping over. It was the only time of the year we got to enjoy homemade ice cream, and couldn’t wait for dinner to end so we could have some. Hello brain freeze!
Sometime after supper the ice cold watermelons were brought out and sliced, which inevitably ended up in a seed-spitting war. Uncouth? Sure! We had a blast anyway! (If you’ve never done it, the trick is to nail the other person in the face with the seed, minus the spit. Sometimes you got both…)
Before the sun set, Dad would dole out the snakes, smoke bombs and parachutes, since none of these were any fun in the dark. It kept us busy for a while while Dad set up the bigger fireworks display. They were illegal where we lived, so he would drive to a neighboring state to buy them. His job was to light them while we kept an eye out for the cops! Bottle rockets, roman candles, fountains, pinwheels, firecrackers – he always bought a variety of cool stuff for our private show.
After the main event, he handed out the sparklers and we enjoyed trying to write our names in the air with them (you have to move really fast!). I recall some years we also created floating lanterns made out of newspaper and straight pins. We had a lot of fun every year, and I’m amazed no one ever got hurt! I don’t usually bother with going to fireworks displays any more. I don’t like the heat, noise, or crowds, and the magic of it all is long gone. Oh well.
I hope you and yours take a moment to remember what we are celebrating and have a safe, enjoyable Holiday.
Other things going on this week:
- Making some good progress on Traitor’s Moon. Still in chapter three and hope to finish it up by next week. I’m at an exciting part of the story with a lot of action, and writing it requires careful thought and precision. Nolan finally meets his mate, and they’re both in for a surprise!
- Been working on adding an email sign-up to my website. I chose MailPoet and am wading my way through the settings and trying to figure it all out. I’m not a tech person, so this kind of thing gives me hives. I would vastly prefer to let someone else do the set-up while I get more writing done.
- Started reading a dragon book this week, but had to quit. It wasn’t billed as a YA title, but it certainly wasn’t geared for adults! Too simple, too cute, too illogical for me to enjoy. That’s OK – there are enough books out there to satisfy every taste imaginable, and I’m not arrogant enough to assume everyone will enjoy my work simply because I wrote it.
- I don’t know about you, but the heat here has been awful, and I tip my hat to the fine gentlemen who invented air conditioning! In 1902, the first modern electrical air conditioning unit was invented by Willis Carrier in Buffalo, New York. In 1945, Robert Sherman of Lynn, MA invented a portable, in-window air conditioner. The first mass-market system for automobiles appeared in the Nash Ambassador in 1954. Without these fine inventions I would melt into a puddle of goo like the Wicked Witch. Not pretty folks!