July 6, 2010

Fourth is Second

Fourth of July is an underrated Holiday. Between the grilling, the warm weather, the time spent at the lake or the pool, and of course blowing stuff up, it's my second favorite holiday. (You can't touch Thanksgiving.) What makes it so great is how relaxed it is. Very little work has to go into a great Fourth. There is not the pressure of shopping or getting the perfect costume. Simply throw on a bathing suit and you're ready. So honor of the Fourth of July, here are four Fourth memories.

1. When I was young I spent many Fourths in Henderson, Texas. I would stay at my grandparents along with my cousins Michael, Kevin and Preston. We spent our days exploring, playing "piggie wants a signal", and playing badminton. Since Wimbledon was always on that week, we each pretended we were a tennis star (I was always the totally cool Bjorn Borg.) Then on the evening of the Fourth, everyone would head to Lake Forest Park. There, the local Jaycees put on a fireworks display. One year the shot them off to close to the crowd (shrapnel rained down upon us), the next year backed up and set the woods on fire. It was a small show, but always exciting. When I was five or six, my cousins and I rode in my parent's car to the show. As we sat in the back my mother noticed us giggling. Some high school girls were waving and flirting with us. My mom asked what was so funny. My cousin Preston (who was also five or six) turned around, bit the palm of his hand and said, "Foxes!"

2. As we got older we began spending many Fourths at my aunt's lake house. Lot's of skiing, tubing, fishing and shooting pool. And of course, the massive amount of fireworks we would shoot of her pier. In spite of all the fun we had, the Fourth at the lake I remember best was not fun. It was 1986, and I was particularly excited about the Fourth. This was the year that the refurbished Statue of Liberty was to be unveiled during "Liberty Weekend." Being a history buff I looked forward to watching this on TV while celebrating with our typical lake entrapment's. Alas, it was not to be. On the morning of the Fourth I woke up early with stomach pains. I won't go into details, but let me just say that I had a stomach virus and it was two for the price of one, if you know what I mean. Spent the entire day in bed or in the bathroom. Woke up just enough to watch the NYC fireworks display.

3. On July 4, 2000 my wife went into labor with our first child. Talk about fireworks. Although Grant wasn't born until the fifth, we spent the evening at the hospital. In fact we watched the Abilene fireworks display from a hospital window. What I love about having a child born on that date is that for several years when Grant was young, he kinda thought that the celebrations and fireworks were something special done just for him.

4. Finally, I love this Jim Gaffigan take on holidays. And my favorite part is his take on the Fourth of July. I completely relate.