Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July

For one reason or another family didn’t come to visit us often. Many used the excuse there wasn’t enough room, but we were poor, lived in a dilapidated trailer in the middle of nowhere and both my parents were battling depression. Who would want to visit?

So when my oldest brother and his now wife came on the 4th of July it was like a birthday present opened early—three days early to be exact. Since Kenny is twelve years older than me, he was always someone I looked up to, latched on to and wanted to be just like when I grew up.

When I heard he was coming, my parents could barely get me away from the window. I wanted to know exactly when he pulled up the driveway. I didn’t care if I had to sit there for hours. After I saw him, I ran about the small trailer in frenzy until I found my way outside. Once out of his car, he was all mine and after he peeled my scrawny arms and legs from the biggest bear hug I could muster, we had one of the best July 4ths ever.

Our five-acre pond provided hours of fishing. I cannot recall if we caught anything, though I do remember snapping turtles being the most popular inhabitant in the water. Later we tossed around horseshoes, and I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt I didn’t win. I have no aim.

Dinner came in the form of barbequed chicken over the grill, accompanied by all the usual summer holiday trimmings. Our glasses were filled and re-filled with sweet iced tea, condensation dripped down the sides from the hot Texas air. Eventually the heat drove us to swimming and even the poorest people have pools in the south.

As the day moved along the sun faded and our excitement grew. It was time for fireworks and back then, fireworks were fun. Roman candles, bottle rockets, black-cats, mortars. Anything was game and my big brother never disappointed.

I sat between my mom and my other brother Kris, with eyes wide and a permanent smile plastered to my face. An assortment of beautiful colors sprayed into the clear Texas sky, illuminating everyone’s skin with blues and reds as the bombs burst in air.

When we ran out of explosives, we ventured indoors, sat around the kitchen table and played our family’s favorite game: UNO. We are all super competitive, so if you ask any of us we’d each claim victory. Who actually won? I don’t know. Probably me.

Throughout the events of the day I continued thinking, “This is all for my birthday.” And even though it wasn’t, being with my family—at least most of my family—was the greatest gift I could have ever asked for.

I hope everyone has a happy and safe 4th of July and you get to spend it with those you love. Make it special, because one day they may write about it.


  1. Anonymous7/04/2011

    Great post, Krystal. But the one thing that struck me is how different your world was growing up from mine. Some of the things you mention sound almost like an alien world. And I've lived in the US (well, New York which I suppose is technically not the US :-)) Tossing horseshoes, sweet iced tea, bottle rockets ... all these details really brought the whole scene to life.

  2. Great post, loved it, and loved how you waited at the window, I used to do that type of stuff too- Best 4th July story I've heard - keep them coming!

  3. What better way to celebrate "your birthday" than with explosives and barbequed critter? Our birthdays rock, lol!

  4. I hope not to offend any New Yorkers, but the city does not provide an accurate representation of what the rest of the US is like. Maybe one day you and yours should venture back over here and take a drive through the beautiful countryside. I bet you'd be surprised. And no one does sweet tea better than the south. ;-)

    Glad you enjoyed my story Louise. I will keep my childhood memories flowing for as long as they grace my brain. Hopefully I don't suffer any long term memory loss.

    And, Sarah, WE ROCK. LOL. We share birthdays, our children are all about the same ages, we write together, we whine together, we blog together. Sigh. I <3 July made two great friends.

    Oh, and speaking of bottle rockets, roman candles, mortars and the like...we picked some up in PA and lit them off at a friends house on Saturday. AWESOME display. Can't wait to see the professional stuff tonight!


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