By Kathleen Pickering
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!
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?