4th of July…What do you remember?
I remember . . .
3-bean Salad, coleslaw, and deep-fried pickles. Ice cream with Hershey’s chocolate syrup drowning the cup. Rainbow sprinkles, ants and watermelon rind sweeten the ground.
Lemonade with pulp, deviled eggs, hot dog and burger buns. French’s mustard, Miracle Whip and red Heinz Catsup. American cheese, kosher dill spears and plastic tablecloths. Green pickle relish with little red squares, so sweet and tart. Olives with fake pimento folds.
Crunchy round burgers, and onioned hot dogs rolling off the plates. Crispy fried chicken causing rouged grease burns on your grandma’s forearms. Noodles with gravy and two-layer cakes.
Graham crackers melted with smooth chocolate layers. Crunchy burnt marshmallows nestled between, smooshed and full.
Swimsuits and beach towels and SPF 30. Wet-slicked hair around smiling tanned faces. Chapstick from the bottom of mom’s brown purse.
Uncle Max takes us out in the canoe. Us rowing together, one and the same. Bug-eyed sunglasses with relative kisses. Yellow flip-flops, and goggles and dirt in your swimsuit.
Baby floaties and bonnets and dogs with their panting. Their tongues and their necks far off from all leashes.
Warm beer and sunsets and quick twilight kisses. Otter pops, and splinters from old picnic benches.
Aunt Joan lies in a rounded recline. Straining both her bathing suit and the plastic chaise lounge. Bowlegged grandpas with cigars in their mouths. Pineapple cakes intended to be served upside down.
Plastic forks and spoons and plates that are too pliant. Chicken fights compete with water noodles and green doughnut floats in the pool. Water balloons hurled at you as you run away screaming.
Sparklers begin blazing their flame on a stick. Star-spangled banners and cannon shells bombing. Fireworks screamers and laughter in the dark. “Ooohs” and “aaahhs” and pecan pie slices. Giggling lovers under blankets on the lawn.
Toddlers fumbling, and adolescents running, and teenagers hormoning, and adults finally sitting, limp in their chairs.
Explosions as bright as daylight, lull us into a strong hold. A bright finale of colorful firings, crowding the sky on this Fourth of July.
The fireworks have stopped burning. The bombs have stopped swirling the fires in the sky. A reflection of smoke off the city lights below it, remind us of the fight just before in this eve. All the “ooohs” and “aaahhs” and the eyes have stopped staring.
A remembrance of the soldiering half-way round that sky.
A moment of silence too brief for so many.
As we then pack away 4-cheese macaroni, baked beans and remains of a plain humble apple pie.
What do you remember? Let me know.
S. Belle Karper, Author, Speaker www.BelleKarper.com
THE WIDOW WEARS BLACK – An Edgy Memoir from an Outspoken Survivor
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