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Thursday, July 2, 2009

7/2/09 Happy 4th of July!

I remember how looooooong summer's seemed as a kid…as long as at least a couple of years of my life now…it's like the opposite of dog years, time was just on super-slow-mo as a kid. We'd spend the days running all through the neighborhood with the 'gang' of kids. Mom's generally had no clue exactly where you were, but weren't worried as long as you showed up for lunch…my Mom with 5 kids, she just knew we were together. The only time I had to ask permission to go somewhere was 'going to the creek' because it was a little further away in the woods down the hill.

My kids love hearing stories about all the 'now dangerous' things we did 'way back when'…they never seem to hear the end of some of the stories when we sometimes got injured, but only all the fun we had doing things I wouldn't allow them to do now…simple things like no bike helmets (I still have cinders in one knee) and no seatbelts (before there were seatbelts I broke the front windshield with my head as a child in an accident sitting in the front bench seat between my parents…I was fine), or products like metal lunch boxes (my left front tooth, now a cap, was chipped by a kid swinging one of those as we ran to line up after recess), and DH's 'Red Rider' B-B gun (looks like a rifle for a toddler…my kids and my middle sister's kids were never allowed to have even a plastic gun…my sister swears that's why her 2nd son is now becoming a police officer LOL). They love hearing all the stories…about how my oldest sister built a go-cart/soap box and rode it down our street; a very steep hill my parents still live on…it was her first and last trip down. The piece of wood she'd nailed in for a 'brake' popped off the second she touched it to the ground…she lost all six of her front teeth (now capped).

Our guys from the 'April Bunnies' group have tried this as well (good sports aren't they...getting stuck with the 'Bunnies', and good exercise)...they won the Derby!

Times were different then for kids…you'd never know it from the injuries, but it was a safer time (and no wonder I'm the 'safety police', right?).

We're off to Columbus for the 4th to be with my (foodie) family (yes, all the phone calls have been about what everyone is making for the different events and meals). The 4th is a HUGE deal for all of us. My parents have been in the same house for 43 years. They built a house in the first 'phase' of an enormous development built around a golf course…so large it has its own Elementary school. My parents have always been really involved in the community…Dad was President of the Civic Association and the PTA way back, and they started and were the first Chair's of the 4th of July parade that travels part of the main road through the neighborhood. They have entered a float for just our street every year which always involved months of planning and putting it together. Back in my youth we had engineers and welders who lived on the street and they concocted some pretty elaborate floats…one with a moving Ferris wheel and another with two turnstiles each with a center wall so 2 'scenes' with people on them turned. We loved riding in the parade. Now my kids have that tradition as well…they've ridden on the floats, they've decorated their bicycles and won trophies and t-shirts, they've ridden with their grandparents (as past parade chairs they do this every year) on the golf cart through the parade, they've been at the street picnic every 4th after the parade (every year some of the old 'gang' of kids I used to run with come back to the picnic), they've gone to the big neighborhood fireworks display and the even bigger one the night before downtown (I always cry start crying at the first patriotic song...that's what this is about after all!) and after we set off fireworks in my folks backyard (yeah, not so safe, but we keep the kids on the patio…and more importantly, of course they've heard all the stories of years ago when all the dad's had bottle rocket wars on the street with pop bottles armed with ammo aiming them at the enemy strongholds…yeah, until my youngest sister got one planted into her thigh). Yeah, we'll be stopping in Ohio for our fireworks enroute.

they've gone to the big carnival the day after at the Elementary school and played the carnival games and ridden the ponies.

My kids are really looking forward to it. Whenever I get together with my 4 siblings and parents the kids will always ask us to tell stories of all the crazy things we used to do (like the above), so there will always be several stories they've yet to hear each year. Apparently my middle-sister and I have the same laugh and when we get hysterical it gets to the point of no sound at all…just tears running down our faces and gasps now and then…the kids love to 'get us going'. It's going to be an extra special 4th weekend as Mom's (shhhhhhh) having a big surprise party for my Dad's 80th birthday on Sunday with over 60 guests.

So get your seat early for the parade and have a great 4th of July all!

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