I’m not that patriotic (sorry to disappoint), but the 4th of July has always been one of my favorite holidays. It’s not because of parades or carnivals or concerts. On the farm, we never attended any of these things because we almost always spent the 4th of July in the harvest field.
Generally, the wheat is ripe around late-June-early-July. For twelve-fourteen hours a day, my family would be working. At fourteen, I started driving the grain cart. Depending on which field we were at, on the 4th of July, I could sit inside the tractor’s cab, look across the horizon, and see the fireworks from several different towns.
We waited to have our celebration until after wheat harvest when our family and my aunt’s family (another farm family) both had time. Then, sometimes as late as Labor Day, we’d get together and have a large barbeque, eat homemade ice cream, and light fireworks.
When I was young, my grandmother would take my sister and me to the fireworks distributor located in an old metal quonset in town. We’d look around a bit before she’d ask about the good stuff—meaning the illegal fireworks he kept in the back. He’d take her to the other room, and she’d return arms filled with Roman Candles, sky rockets, and anything else he could unload on her. My sister and I would spend days looking at each of the different fireworks to decide in which order they should be lit.
Now that we’re all off the farm, we’ve started a tradition of meeting up at my sister’s house. We spend several days hanging out by the pool, eating loads of food, and lighting off a ton of fireworks—legally this time. It’s not quite the same as the harvest field, but at least (most of the time) we’re all together.
What do you do for the 4th of July?