It's funny how traditions change, no matter how hard to you try to keep them the same.
For as long as I can remember, July 4th meant a party at the pavilion with friends and family. We'd wake up early and help (well, try to) my Mom make her famous taco salad. But at the first sight of a car, which usually was my cousin's, we'd run down to the pond and begin a day of make believe. We'd spend hours exploring the woods, playing in the creek and fishing. The only time we'd come back was to eat. The food I distinctly remember was my Mom's taco salad (it's amazing!) and this cream cheese spread with oil, grilled peppers and onions on top. Sounds strange, but it was so good! My cousins always had the "Hug" drinks...I was always jealous.
All of my grandparents friends, my parents friends and relatives would be there. It was like a family reunion in some ways! Some years, depending on the day of the week, we'd head to the lake for fireworks at night. It always seemed so late, like we were breaking the rules by being awake. I grew up loving the colors, the loud "booms" and the "finale." My cousin didn't. She hid under a blanket for several years. But when she did get brave enough to watch, she saw a "Care Bear" firework. To this day, no one remembers it but us. Ha! It was one of the best days of the summer growing up and I feel really lucky to have so many memories from those days.
When my grandparents decided to stop having the parties, my sisters and I, and my cousins were devastated. We fought pretty hard to keep the parties alive, but they fizzled away. At the time, it was really hard to imagine what we would do on July 4th, but you roll with the changes and now we're creating our own July 4th traditions. Since I've lived in Knoxville, we have a big barbecue with all of our friends. It's fun to watch the kids run around and play, it reminds me of being little. It also reminds me how quickly life goes by.
What are some of your favorite July 4th memories?