I skipped our neighboring town’s Fourth of July parade this morning. It isn’t quite the same since my children are older and aren’t real concerned about collecting the candy loot along the parade route. Instead, I enjoyed the quiet of the morning along with a cup of coffee.
The air was already humid and hot as I placed the our flag in the holder. Of course, like every minute of every day, I thought of my dad while I adjusted the flag. He was such a patriot – he put the flag out everyday. When we surprised him with an awesome flag pole one year, complete with a light so he could leave the flag up at night, you wouldn’t believe the smile. His entire face lit up, and he tended to that flag faithfully. The landscaping and lighting were always perfect. He’d have it no other way.
We used to have a blast – pun intended – on the Fourth of July. When we were young kids, we would go to my dad’s brother’s house for the day. It was great: grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, awesome food, sparklers. In the evening, we’d sit at the foot of my uncle’s driveway and watch the fireworks. The smell of barbecued burgers, fireworks and cigar smoked enveloped us.
If there was a ball game on, you can bet it was being listened to, with an adjustment to an antenna to reduce the static. And you can safely bet my dad, uncle and grandfather would gripe about what the Detroit Tigers were doing – or not doing – that particular season. Words were peppered with expletives, making us kids laugh and our mothers blush.
As time went on, the trees in the park grew, and we lost our vantage point view at my uncle’s house. We moved the event to the park, and as us kids grew older, we went our own separate ways with our own friends. Eventually, there were weddings, moves across town and across the country. The passing of time and relatives changed the face of the Fourth of July.
When my little (at the time!) family moved back “home” after our military moves, we started our own tradition of attending parades and fireworks. Our town sponsored both, and so our house became like my uncle’s: filled with relatives, kids running, barbecue and water balloons. All day long, our house had continuous movement, anticipating the fireworks at night.
With each flag I see today, I’ll think of my dad the patriot. He loved the military, for which he was not called to serve. I often imagine that if he could have gone to basic training, he would be the guy who was super buff because he’d have done thousands of push-ups due to smart-aleck remarks made to his drill sergeant. As fiercely protective he was of his family, I bet he would have been an outstanding non-commissioned officer. His guys would come first – I know that in my heart.
Of course, he’ll be missed this evening when we toss the burgers on the grill. We’ll laugh about the year my dad ran off like a bat out of hell to correct an ignorant punk who stupidly threw a firecracker towards my young children as we walked home from the fireworks. Boy, did that guy mess with the wrong family 🙂
Dad, enjoy viewing the fireworks tonight from your new vantage point. I bet it will be awesome.
© 2012 – Lynne Cobb