The Fourth and Celebration

By Kathleen Pickering (public domain image)

I could think of no better way to celebrate finishing a week in Manhattan attending the annual RWA conference than to sit on the Great South Bay with loved ones, applaud the spectacular sunset and watch fireworks.

For those of you unfamiliar to Long Island’s south shore (except for the recent disturbing news of serial killings along these marshes), let me assure you, these beaches are some of the best watering holes in the country.

As a child, I remember charging home from school on the last day before summer break to pile in the boat with my parents and motor to the town beach where I and my seven siblings lived for two, glorious months. Oh, the lost hours running barefoot along the dunes, fishing and clamming, bird-watching and shell hunting, tumbling in the Atlantic—because those waves certainly tossed small beings without effort, and camp fires at night—because back then, we could!

My parents were no fools taking us to the beach for the summer. It was like camp with no rules. My folks had just as much fun as we did. They taught us boating safety, and gave us freedom they’d never allow at home.

Can you imagine ten people living in close quarters, and loving every minute of it? To the surprise of many observers, we never had an accident. Not even a stitch. I honor my parents for giving us free reign to be kids while ensuring we understood and respected our surroundings.

You can imagine my delight in continuing my parent’s summer tradition when my husband and I bought our own sailboat and introduced our sons to beach living. Some of my siblings bought boats as well, so the beach became a second-generation family affair. Our sons grew up dockside with their cousins like brothers and sisters, forging bonds that will last their lifetime.

So, yesterday, coming “home” (since I now live in Fort Lauderdale) to spend the Fourth of July on my sister’s boat with her family, my family and dear friends, made me so very grateful for this wonderful event that is my life!

July 4th I sat with my sons, my new daughter in law, completely satisfied with the people they’ve become.  Pop! Pop! Ahhhhhh! Fireworks!

I caught up with friends I haven’t seen in months and shared news, like for me, RWA turned out to be another wonderful networking opportunity and and chance to hammer out three new proposals with my editor.  Sizzle! Pop! Oooooh! More fireworks!

I also heard of some hardships loved ones are facing, that really, no one should face. Yet, watching them forget their troubles while fireworks lit the sky cemented gratitude in me for this time together. Swiiiishhhh! Pop! Boom! Even more fireworks!

So, for those of us with troubled times crowding our thoughts, I suggest taking a moment to let the kid in you enjoy the fireworks and celebration July Fourth offers. Heck, let the fireworks last all year long! After all, The Fourth celebrates our great nation overcoming oppression in pursuit of freedom to follow our dreams. For that I feel gratitude, right down to my toes. The child in me wants to ooooh, and ahhhh and remember never to forget how lucky we truly are!

Won’t you join me in celebrating? How did you spend The Fourth of July?

12 thoughts on “The Fourth and Celebration

  1. Sounds like a great way to celebrate the holiday. Reminds me of when I was a kid and my family spent the summers at a friend’s home in Cape Cod. boy, the fun–and the trouble (in a Norman Rockwell sort of way) we got into–during those days.
    Happy Fourth everyone
    David DeLee – a Grace deHaviland novel

  2. We spent it with an abundance of friends at a hillside home that overlooks the San Fernando Valley. Big barbecue, then we saw three different fireworks displays happening over the broad panorama. A perfect way to do it. No crowds and traffic!

  3. Your Independence Day celebration sounds like so much fun! We actually stayed home all day, and I indulged in reading. I mean, I did nothing but read ALL DAY LONG. Articles, blog posts, research books, novels, and a new book on a man with whom I am fascinated who happened to be a signer of the Declaration of Independence. And it was a GOOD day!

  4. Nice post, Kathleen. Very nostalgic, for me anyway.

    When I was in school, I loved summer. What kid didn’t? The long, lazy days, the steamy nights. But in addition to a celebration of our independence, the Fourth of July always–for me–sounded the death knell of summer. It served as a reminder of the finite nature of summer and how it must drift into autumn. From then on, it was just a countdown until school started again.

    Nowadays, I take time every Fourth of July and read the Declaration of Independence. It’s easily the most remarkable document I’ve ever read.

  5. We spent the fourth celebrating my wife’s birthday a day early. After a few hours kayaking on the gorgeous alpine Eklutna Lake we went home and cooked up some of the most delicious soft, tender, juicy bbq imaginable. Food network has nothing on me babies!

    No fireworks, since they’re so late up here in the Arctic (never starting till after 11 and usually closer to midnight thanks to the midnight sun). But my boys and I had a long story telling session with each other as the audience. After they were safely tucked in their own beds, the wife and I closed the door and got to make our own spectacular fireworks …oops….did I write that out loud?

    Great Fourth, Great Birthday, Great Life.

  6. We went to the town parade in the morning and to a festival at the Sunrise arena in the evening with food trucks and kiddie games and a bandstand. It was fun to get out for a change!

  7. Summer–a day of reading!! WOW!!!

    Mike – the death knell of summer for me was when the swallows arrived at the end of August. I’d sit in the cockpit of the boat and watch them diving to catch bugs and think . . . I don’t know how I’ll make it through winter.

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