The fourth of July dawned clear, with a bright blue sky and fans humming inside. My alarm went off at six-thirty so that I had time to read my Bible before the tumult of the holiday. "Happy Independence Day Mother!" I called as I came into the kitchen, which was already buzzing with activity. Will had been sent off to work early, the beans were pressure-cooked and the eggs were boiled.
I spent a busy morning making potato-salad and cold drinks for later on. The cakes, I knew, were already in the freezer, and only one was still to be frosted. This I accomplished once Mother had brought home more powdered sugar. All hands were on deck that morning; we were in festive mood, and listened to a lot of music, including the National Treasure soundtrack :)
At about one-thirty, Katie came in with Greta Rosie, who exclaimed "the friends are here!" And they were! A bunch of old friends had driven down from the city for the day, and there was much hugging and laughter and talking and joking. There wasn't a cloud in the sky overhead, and the heat of the sun soon reminded us of the swimming to be had. So we pulled out coolers and fixed sandwiches and offered cold drinks.
Will came home just in time to join the contingent for the waterpark. Some walked over and some drove -- it was a lovely day for it. The waterpark was full, but we found plenty of room for water-basketball, practicing a dive or splashing the lifeguards, trying out the slides, watching babies in the kiddy-pool.
When it drew near evening and we had worked up a good appetite, we splashed out of the water and changed back into our festive attire for the walk to Katie and Caleb's house. There were chairs out for chatting, the pergola was strung with lights, and Caleb's grill was letting off a superb aroma. Several of us headed across the street to play softball before supper, and I discovered that I like the game better with lots of people.
Then the ribs came off the grill--oh my, the deliciousness!--and the line-up of side dishes was remarkable. . . indeed there were a great many remarks upon them, as well as of the ribs, but that between mouthfulls. Munching and chatting went on for a good while, and even after more softball, we came back to a tableful of magnificent desserts.
Lightening bugs started to glow among the trees in the yard, and shadows began to creep up around us. Soon it would be time for the firework display over the lake, but before that, the boys pulled out two guitars and a banjo and played around for a bit. When we did have to start walking toward the park, they decided to cart the instruments along, and so played right up until ten o'clock. The mosquitoes were fierce, even with bugspray, but it was so much fun listening to the music in the dusk, and Anna even tought me the swing-step. As the first fire-works went up, most of us made our way to the dock so we could watch from there.
The air was cooler there, and the bugs fewer; the dock rocked gently and the water was still and dark, except where it reflected the headlights and the bright colors of the fireworks. They lasted quite a while, although we had fun joking around about the long pauses between some of them. That was when I got to thinking how this is what childhood memories are about, even if I'm not exactly still a child. These memories of games and fun, talk and laughter, music and friends--never quite perfect and never quite the same, but such an abundant blessing that God sends us in the name of summer.
We sang most of the walk back to the house, and when we were gathered there again, we began to choose hymns to sing together. Dozens of voices raised in harmony and heartfelt praise; we have such a bond as brothers and sisters in our beloved Christ. That singing was like a little taste of heaven . . . there are many people I look forward to singing with there!