May the Fourth be with You

Summertime read – hammock optional

Let the Fourth be with You!


Here in the United States, July Fourth will soon arrive in varying shades of heat. It will be a long weekend of camping, cooking out, and friends and family. Some time also, I hope, spent in reflecting that we have the freedoms we do and the people who died to give them to us. Since my book Waiting for Sparks is set around July Fourth and tells how the town celebrates with its Jamboree, my small town doings are fresh in my mind.


When I was growing up in the Adirondack Mountains of New York State, our village had a Memorial Day parade, and as a younger kid, I rode my bike in the parade. Anyone else ever do that?


The day before, my sisters and friends would decorate our bikes in red, white, and blue crepe paper woven into the spokes, fluttering off the handlebars, off the seat, and anywhere else we could find room. Those with advanced technical skill used clothespins to attach playing cards or baseball cards on the spokes for that special sound effect.


The parade began at one end of town (or behind the school that was grades Kindergarten through 12th grade) and travelled up through Hudson Street, past the bunting-hung white bandstand where later in the summer, band concerts would be held, and end up at the town cemetery on the outskirts.


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Me on the 4-H float

Other years, I danced my way with the Florence LaPoint School of Dance or marched with my 4-H club in the green and white uniform and hat. (One year, I rode the float!) I found a photo the other day while repurposing my office. Hooray—just in time for this post.


We had marching bands in wool uniforms, a high-stepping drum majorette, melting mascara from the high school girls in the parade, old cars and waving dignitaries, and veterans marching in their respective military branch uniforms. Yes, many of them still fit into them!


Regardless of the country you live in, I hope you find celebrations to savor.