The 4th of July

I am grateful to have been born in the United States and every day value my freedom.

I’ve never been much of a parade person, but I went to the fireworks every year. My parents and sisters and I sat in the car on the boulevard watching from afar when I was a kid.

With my own kids, we sat on a small red plaid blanket at the hill in Payson Park eating cheese doodles and red licorice as we waited for the fireworks to begin amid neighbors and others in our community – kids running around in anticipation, sparklers, plastic lights around their necks, and in later years, the ice cream truck at the base of the hill.

The kids were wired, up late, out in the dark amid such a festive atmosphere. So many of their friends were there. It was the one time of the year that we had a community party, seeing so many we didn’t see often, chatting, laughing in the dark, spraying bug repellant to keep the mosquitos at bay.

We’ve watched the fireworks from camps on lakes, from a speedboat on Casco Bay, from our black shingled rooftop at our apartment on Munjoy Hill.

We’ve eaten large cakes with Cool Whip and red and blue berries, whoopie pies, red hotdogs with mustard and hamburgers with cheese. Some years, we’ve been with a small group of friends and other years, large groups of extended family.

Now that the kids are grown, I don’t have to go to the fireworks. Often, I peek at them sparkling and lighting up the night sky out my window as I lie in bed, their boom delayed from my distance. I listen to neighbors firing off their own, celebrating our country’s day of independence.

Photo: Falmouth, Maine

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