Happy 4th of July, everyone! Jaunty P. Quills here! I love to celebrate my independence. You might say that every day of the year is independence day for me. So, to shake things up, I’m looking for a date for tonight to spark some fireworks of our own…if you know what I mean. (wink, wink)
So, hey, Quills who wants to spend some time with a hottie on the 4th of July?
Kathy: Um, Jaunty, I think you’re kind of missing the point of this holiday. Do you understand what the nation is celebrating today?
Jaunty: Yes, ma’am! It’s a day of independence.
Nancy: Well, Jaunty, that’s almost right. It’s our nation’s birthday. The anniversary of the day in 1776 when we declared our independence from Great Britain. You’re supposed to be patriotic today.
Shana: Yes, Jaunty. Patriotic. You know, wear red, white and blue as a symbol of the colors of the American flag.
Kristan: That’s right. My favorite part of the Fourth, or any national holiday, is hanging out our American flag. It covered the casket of my biological grandfather, a man my dad didn’t get to know. But the flag is beautiful; the red is so rich, and the white has an ivory hue to it. We hang it from our porch; it’s huge and hangs from the porch ceiling almost to the ground. I like to think about the grandfather I didn’t know; we don’t have many facts about him, but we know he was brave and loyal; he escaped a POW camp and rejoined his unit. They liberated Dachau. So on the Fourth, especially in this day and age of political bickering, it feels good to start the day off remembering the many times our country has come to the rescue.
Jaunty: Kristan, I can I come over and help you hang up the flag.
Kristan: I’ve already done it, Jaunty. Maybe next year.
Jaunty: (snaps fingers in disappointment) Well, then Shana, how ’bout you? Do you already have plans?
Shana: As a matter of fact, I do. My plans for July 4th are to take Baby Galen to a parade and carnival, then to grandma’s house for swimming and fireworks. This will be her first year to see fireworks and a parade. My main goal is to avoid heat stroke when doing all that!
Jaunty: Sounds like you’re pretty busy.
Emily: Jaunty, isn’t it a little late in the game to be looking for a date for tonight? I think we all have plans with our families.
Elise: Ah, Jaunty, I’m sorry. How about if we make it up to you by sharing some of our favorite memories? Then you can see why it’s so important for us to be with our families today?
Jaunty: (Pouting, he nods).
Elise: I have a favorite 4th of July memory that I’d love to replicate with my girls. It was in the Houston area one summer when I was staying with my dad, and there was a special fireworks show at a park. An orchestra was playing (I wish I could remember the name of the piece, it was classical music we’d all recognize), and every time there was an important (big) moment in the music, fireworks would go off above us. I haven’t been able to find anything like that near us in Colorado, but this year we’ll be going to the 4th of July opening of a park a few blocks down from our house. It’ll be the first time the girls see a real fireworks show.
Robyn: I love fireworks!
Jaunty: Me, too, Robyn! We have so much in common. Do you want to be my date? (Jaunty wiggles his brows)
Robyn: Well, I don’t know about that, Jaunty. But the earliest fireworks I remember were being up on my dad’s shoulders at DisneyWorld when I was about 5. They were amazing. I love the noise and the lights and smell, all of it. Our kids are still too little to stay up that late (or not be afraid b/c of the loud noise) but I very much look forward to sharing fireworks with them when they get a little older. Happy 4th!
Margo: My 4th will be bittersweet. We have an old family farm that was built by my great-grandfather in 1890. It’s the home where my grandmother and great-aunt grew up, and all the grandkids spent countless days out there – climbing trees, swimming in the creek, running through cornfields, getting stung by bees [ouch!] and watching the Northern Lights. We had bonfires and stories, we caught snakes–
Jaunty: SNAKES?? (Jaunty jumps behind Margo). Ewww! I hate snakes!!
Margo: Oh, Jaunty you’re such a hero. (Margo shakes her head). As I was saying…we played hide-and-seek, and watched my dad clean the fish he caught in the nearby lake. Then we fried them up and ate them for dinner. The farm is part of my aunt’s estate, and she recently passed away, so it will have to be sold. But this week, my extended family – my siblings and cousins - will be having a picnic there, just like we do every 4th of July. It’ll probably be our last one at the old place, and this will be our chance to go through all the old stuff in the attic, and the dressers and cupboards, and reminisce about all the great times we had out there.
Cindy: Ohh, Margo…I can see why it will be bittersweet. But what wonderful memories…My fondest memories of the 4th of July center around snakes–
Jaunty: What’s with all the snakes, ladies? You’re scaring me.
Cindy: No, Jaunty, not the ones that slither and have those beady eyes. I’m talking about the small black tablets we used to light with a match (or a punk) and they billowed up in a long stream (like a snake) leaving black circles that were nearly impossible to get off the concrete driveway or sidewalks. Snakes smelled terrible, they didn’t do much, but I loved them. And if I ever decided to buy some fireworks, you can bet snakes would be in the bag!
Jaunty: Cindy, I hope you have a very happy holiday with your… snakes. (Jaunty shudders).
Kathy: When I was 12 my entire extended family headed to Okeechobee and my grandparents’ house for the Fourth, we were surprised when we arrived that there was an RV and we all piled in to drive to Sebastian Inlet for a day of clamming, skiing and water fun. When we got back to the beach all the adults shucked clams and we ate them until we were almost sick. Then piled back into the RV and drove back to Okeechobee where we grilled out at this park by the lake. When it was fireworks time we all climbed up to the roof of the RV and watched them while lighting our own sparklers.
Emily: I was born in St. Louis and lived there until I was five. I don’t have many memories from that time, but one of the few that I have is going to the Arch on four of July and watching the fireworks. I must have been about four. After the display, when we headed home, someone in our neighborhood was still shooting off fireworks and I can remember sitting on my sister’s bed watching out them out her window. This year will be the first year we take our kids to see the fireworks. They are only a little excited, but that’s because they don’t know what’s in store for them!
Terri: The things I remember most about childhood 4th of July celebrations were the parades and festivities in the small town where I grew up. Oh, and the candies thrown by the people riding by on the floats! And the day would conclude with the “Miss Mt. Ephraim” contest and wonderful fireworks.
More recently, we did the same things with our kids in the small town where we live — parade, games in the park, “Miss Berlin ICCA” contest and fireworks to end the day . . . and lots of water ice to keep cool!”
Jaunty: Terri, if you’ll be my date, I’ll crown you Mrs. Jaunty P. Quills.
Terri: Jaunty, I only have one word for you: inappropriate.
Nancy: When I was young my brother and I used to spend summers with my grandparents. We used to always go to my Aunt Trisha and Uncle Jim’s house. We’d cook out and shoot off fireworks. What I anticipated the most was the homemade ice cream. Uncle Jim would sit in the yard and hand-crank the ice cream maker for what seemed like hours. When it was finally ready, it was always worth the wait. I can still remember how good that special treat tasted. To this day, homemade ice cream always makes me think of the 4th of July.
Jaunty: It sounds like you all have some really nice family memories about the fourth of July. I’ll tell you what, since it looks like I’ll be a solo porcupine for this holiday, how about if I put in my dibs early for next year? Who’s going to be the lucky lady to be my date next fourth of July? Anyone…?
Hey! Where did everybody go?
(Jaunty turns in a full circle, shrugs)
Oh, well, it looks like the Quills are off to celebrate our nation’s birthday. Happy Independence Day, everyone! Have a fun and safe holiday!