When I was growing up, my family didn’t celebrate many holidays. There was no Christmas tree to decorate our living room on cold Missouri Winter nights. There were no heart chains or candy for Valentines day. However, when 4th of July rolled around each year there was no containing our excitement. There is just something about volatile chemicals exploding and raining fire down on a crowd of onlookers that makes any night magical.
My favorite 4th of July memory happened when I was about 13 years old. I was living in Missouri and my family decided to make the trip to the capital building in Jefferson City because there was always a great party with tons of live music, dancing, food and of course the best firework display in the state. When we arrived there were huge crowds of people milling around various country singers, but my attention was focused on a few children who were swimming in the official capital fountain. I couldn’t believe my eyes. The fountain was huge, the water about two and a half feet deep. There were also grand statues rising out of it at seemingly random intervals and a layer of change coated the bottom all the way across. All my brothers and sisters, myself included started begging our mother to go and join the children, but at first she said no, determined that the children in the pool were breaking the rules. Still, my eyes kept straying toward the children splashing and giggling in the water while we sweated through our clothes on that hot July night. After a while, security officers walked over, but instead of kicking the children out of the fountain they just smiled at them and walked on. I immediately used this bit of information to convince my mother to let us go and join in on the fun. My siblings and I spent the next few hours swimming around in shallow water, scooping up the coins from the bottom, then throwing them back in as we all made wishes and patriotic music played all around us. When the fireworks finally started, we were delighted to realize that they were right over our heads and appeared so close that we felt we could reach up and touch the sparks. The light reflected off the water all around us making it seem like we were surrounded by fire in all directions. We lay floating on our backs and gazed up at them. It was magical.
Even though I am grown now and have a family of my own that does celebrate most of the conventional holidays, the 4th of July is and has always been my second favorite holiday second only to Thanksgiving. So in the spirit of both of my favorite holidays I have decided to release my new book Possibilities for free, this weekend only. If you are viewing this between July 1st and July 6th 2014 click on the link below to receive a free copy. If you like what you read, please leave a review. Thank you.