We usually have a gathering. We have a pool and a big yard and quite a nice grill. And, weather and borough budgets permitting, we have a fireworks display within walking distance. When I was young, Independence Day meant an all-day, whole-family blow-out extravaganza. And when I say whole family I mean WHOLE FAMILY! Mom is one of seven and all of the aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins and several family friends would all descend on whichever location had the biggest pool and the most parking spaces. There was a no-holds-barred softball game, pool games including volleyball, basketball and chicken fights, and back yard games like Red Rover, Baby in the Air and even Capture the Flag. And after fireworks, we went back to the house for dessert and Jeopardy, Murder, Spoons, and Guggenheim (a game very similar to Scattergories). We did the same thing on Memorial Day and Labor Day.
As time passed and the extended family grew and became restructured, our gatherings changed. We still have the big blow-out reunions every few years (still with games) but now our Holidays involve mostly my extended family and not Mom's. We're a smaller, less manic group and so we usually stick to swimming, fireworks and games back at the house in the evening.
But not this year. We're just plumb tuckered out!
We were treated to an unexpected visit from Dharma and the girls last week! It all started with a casual comment after a glance at the calendar (as in, "You know, next week is wide open, it's a shame you can't visit, " "Well...now that you mention it, I think we can!") and one thing led to another until Presto! They were here!
It is always fantastic having all four sisters together with all of our children. We are so blessed to have them all get along so well. These photos are from an afternoon spent at the local water ice stand. We adults just sat around shootin' the breeze while the children ran themselves in circles, laughing and shouting. Somehow, we had the entire place to ourselves!
It's not Summer until someone winds up with a shockingly blue tongue!
We spent every day trying to cram in as much togetherness as possible while also trying to keep everyone fed and meet the demands of friends and other relatives who were hoping for visits.
And, of course, there was the horrible heat wave to contend with. We were among the fortunate ones who did not lose their electricity. We had a contingency plan in place for such an event (basically sleeping on the first floor and spending the day in the pool or in the mall) but, thankfully, we didn't need it.
But even the heat couldn't make our spirits wilt! We played outside when we could, we did a lot of swimming, we went to the movies (on the worst day) and we went to the beach!
And when we needed to stay home and rest, Calvin very obligingly made tents for the younger kids that were perfect for lying in and reading or just playing quietly. They always got knocked down, but he just kept making them again. I wish I'd gotten a photo...
And when all else failed, we could always try dressing up the dog!
Saturday was Redheaded Snippet's 17th birthday. And as there were more family members than usual in town, her party kind of swelled into a bigger event than we had originally anticipated.
So we cleaned the pool, washed and dried extra towels, cranked the AC way down (or is it up? I never know), set a few fans in strategic places around the house, and stocked several coolers full of ice and drinks!
And I'll tell you what: any stress involved in the planning of the day was well worth it when I looked out the kitchen window to see dear ones gathered around, laughing, splashing, relaxing and enjoying one another's company!
The Viking had me puzzled for several minutes as to why he was walking all over the downstairs carrying this large pink thing resembling the large intestine of a great beast. He was puzzled as to why I was taking pictures of him and giggling.
Of course! It's the raft for the pool (also known as Cleopatra's barge)! He was looking for a patch and then re-inflating it for the kiddies! That makes a lot more sense, though I do think the idea of it being a monster's large intestine has a lot more scope for the imagination.
All intestinal jokes aside, the party moved along very smoothly (tee hee). No one got hurt, despite the incredible heat and the even more incredible fact that REDHEADED SNIPPET IS DRIVING NOW!
That's right. THIS girl. Is allowed by law to be in control of a moving vehicle. First ObamaCare and now this. We're doomed.*
Anyway, all this to say that our week was wonderful but a little tiring, especially at the end. And the last thing I want to think about right now is filling our house with people again so soon. And so we're just keeping things very low-key for this Independence Day. I know, I know, what if Paul Revere, John Hancock or Thomas Jefferson had been "too tired"? How would history have been rewritten if the Minutemen had just decided to take it easy? I get it! We are terrible, terrible patriots!
But we can only do so much! We have an incredibly busy few weeks ahead and won't be able to accomplish any of the very important things that need to be accomplished if we don't take a bit of a breather. So that's what we're going to do: slow down, take it easy, catch our breath, and, yes, okay, probably grill a steak and light a sparkler or two.
Happy Independence Day! God Bless America!
*What do you think? Too political? Too important to be flippant? Ah well, LET FREEDOM RING!