When I was a little girl, holidays usually meant spending time with family. I have memories of Christmas dinners at Gramma and Grampa Attig’s home exchanging gifts with cousins, aunts, and uncles; Thanksgiving dinners with aunts, uncles and lots of cousins from my dad’s side of the family; and New Year’s Days spent with my cousins Diane and Stacey playing while our dads watched Bowl games and our moms chatted in the kitchen.
The fourth of July holiday has fuzzier memories. I remember picnics eaten outside in the heat because we didn’t have air conditioning when I was young. It was usually burgers, potato salad (mom made the best – with homemade mayonnaise), baked beans, and pickles. At some point we had potato chips because my cousin Diane and I started eating baked beans on the chips and that’s how I still like them to this day.
A trip to Eureka Lake to watch the fireworks ended the evening. But dad didn’t like leaving in all the traffic, so I didn’t know they had firework finales until I was an adult.
When I was 6 we were visiting Uncle Ken and Aunt Linda in Coronado Island, California, a naval base. I remember sitting on my dad’s shoulders and watching the fireworks display with battleships, destroyers, and aircraft carriers all around us.
In 1981 Rich and I sat on our deck in Coal Creek Canyon, Colorado and watched the fireworks pop up over the mountain and heard them roll up the canyon. Karrie was two and afraid of the ‘rolling thunder’ so I took her inside and rocked her to sleep.
In 1982 I took my daughter Karrie to see the fireworks in Washington. We sat in a parking lot that used to be the original A&W Root Beer Stand and heard the booms and saw the display. But the baby inside of me must not have liked the booming thunder because she kicked and kicked. Karrie spent the rest of the evening with her hand on my tummy, patting the baby, and saying ‘It will be alright.”
Once we sat by the side of the road in Karrie’s jeep and watched the Peoria fireworks. Another time we sat out in the countryside and watched distant fireworks light the sky from small towns all around us.
The celebration this year will stay in my memory for a long time. We spent the weekend in Vail, Colorado, getting ready for the wedding of Rob and Karrie. After loading up cars and SUVs, we made the long, arduous, and crazy fun ride up to Piney River Ranch. Blue skies, white fluffy clouds, red dust, green pine trees, hawks, deer, and beautiful blue columbine made my day comforting. Watching all the friends pull together to set up the wedding, happy to be there, hugging, laughing, and talking made my day happy. Seeing Karrie in her wedding dress, her hat, her joy made my day joyful.
Listening to the ceremony, hearing the vows they wrote, seeing the love they have for each other, and knowing they want to put God first in their lives, made my day satisfying. The day was full of his friends, her friends, their friends, his family, her family, our families. As I stood on the deck alone for a short while, I thanked my God in heaven for the gift of His love, my girls, a son, a special day I could never have imagined and that His arms held us all as He celebrated the wedding, too.
And my life was content.
Happy Fourth of July 2011.