Friday, July 4, 2008

4th of July

This year, we are celebrating the 4th in Germany, with some college friends. CJ is in the US military, but I can’t tell you any more because then he might have to kill me. And you. Just kidding. Sort of. Mostly I just don’t know, because I’m a bad friend.

Anyway, to be honest, we never really know quite what to do with the 4th of July, even when we are in America. The last time we were in the U.S. on the 4th of July we ended up getting together with fellow missionaries who had just moved back from Europe and watching the World Cup on TV. We’re so patriotic aren’t we? We did barbecue though, so does that count? And it was storming like crazy that day, so the only fireworks we saw were through the rain and in between lightning strikes on the way back from Denver to Colorado Springs.

So this year we’ll be enjoying the festivities provided by the American military, in Germany. I don’t know exactly what, but perhaps we’ll have BBQ and hot dogs. I hope we have potato salad.

I don’t have strong feelings about the 4th of July, or any “patriotic” holiday from any of the countries that I have lived in. I always say (I know, it’s corny, but true) that I feel more like a citizen of the world than any particular country. That means I get to claim ALL the holidays!

I’m not super patriotic, but I do have fond memories of 4th of July celebrations when I was a kid. Up until the year I was 9, my family would go to Silver Lake in Rochester, Minnesota to witness the evening’s fireworks display. I’m sure that in reality Rochester’s show rates as average compared to other fireworks displays around the country but my heart remembers it as the best, brightest, most spectacular I’ve ever seen.

We weren’t wealthy by any stretch of the imagination, but we always managed to get plenty of firecrackers, bottle rockets, roman candles, cherry bombs and sparklers. A 4th of July staple for us kids involved the following: we’d lay two bottle rockets side by side on the street, light the fuse and see how far (and where) they’d go. Some would get stuck under a car, others would fly into a tree, and others would make it the full length of the block.

I especially liked it when we went camping after the 4th, because inevitably we’d find a dead fish on the beach, place a firecracker (or two) in its mouth and watch the fun.

Of course, no post would be complete without mentioning the delicious 4th of July fare: polish sausages, hamburgers, hot dogs, potato salad, devilled eggs, lemonade, root beer, ice cold dill pickles, and watermelon. Yum.

This year, we’ll be on an American military base in Germany on the 4th. I imagine our kids will love it.

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