Independence Day a.k.a. Fourth of July has always held a special day in my heart. I always try to remember that this holiday is to celebrate the official adoption of America’s Declaration of Independence. But what I personally hold near and dear are my Fourth of July memories of vacations to Texas.
When Tony and I first moved to Delaware back in 1987, he was only three years old. Then about five years later, my youngest son Nick was born. After learning Delaware did not allow its citizens to participate in personal fireworks, not even sparklers for the little ones. I decided that each year we would always take our family vacation during the week of July 4th. That meant giving up Thanksgivings and Christmases with our Texas family. For over a decade we traveled each year to the Panhandle, visited family and enjoyed the holiday bar-b-ques and gatherings.
My S-Dad, Andy, was a long haul truck driver. With anticipation of our visit each year, he would purchase the loudest and most powerful fireworks he could find along highway stands. Andy felt the South Eastern states had the best merchandise. Upon our arrival, Tony and Nick immediately would want to see the cornucopia of items their grandparents had saved for the big evening. Tony always wanted to go set them off as soon as we got to the house. Like kids inspecting Christmas presents under the tree, each item was viewed and studied for its potential. “Mommy can we go now” is a phrase burned into my memories.
The day of the 4th was always such a long day. The boys could hardly contain themselves. It doesn’t start to get dark in West Texas until around 9:30 pm. Eventually dusk would start to set and we all would make our way out to the rural telephone office where my Mom, Barbara works. We always choose that location because it has a large parking lot with plenty of room to light up those precious roman candles, (my favorite). Andy and Tony, with Nick trailing behind, morphed into the same age as they would run up to light a firework and then run back, stretching their necks to the sky then glancing toward me and Mom to make sure we saw each accomplishment.
Fast forward to today, the boys are grown now, Andy is retired and Mom is thinking about doing the same. Tony lives in Pennsylvania and Nick is in college. I have remarried and the family has expanded. Our family trips to Texas are not as frequent as they once were. But with all the changes I must say that the memories of Independence day will always be special to me.
Unfortunately but necessary, this years events will be limited all over the Southwest due to the wild fires plaguing our country. I do hope that each endangered community does find other ways to celebrate our Nations holiday for its children.