Thursday, July 10, 2014

Mystic Chords of Memory

Icons and cliches stack one upon the other like a giant Jenga game in middle America on Independence Day. With bombs bursting in air and bottle rockets providing a snap, crackle, pop, I happily open albums to the past and anticipate the celebrations to come.

No orchestrated extravaganzas await us small town citizens:

Old Glory 1983
....unless you take this invitation's hype to heart! This Old Glory is the flag from my grandfather's funeral; he was a veteran of WWI. My father hung the flag high in the old cedars in the front is a very large banner....
My sister salutes 1983

Lee and Annie at flag raising circa the 4th in 1987
And as impressive and respected and photographed July 4 2014 as it was a generation ago..
Ben, Kenzie and Levi, 2014

Aaron, Lizzie and Josh, 2014

Levi and I check out the big flag, 2014

The 4th of July is a holiday full of emotion for me. I love the sense of unity, of common cause, in the ways we Americans celebrate our Declaration of Independence. I love the highways roaring with RVs the size of a city lot, of gleaming motorcycles sporting mini Stars and Stripes, the packed parking lots of IHops and Waffle Houses, Casey's and Quik Trips, the rockin' and rollin' giant inflatable gorillas and dirigibles at the fireworks' emporiums.
I treasure the family picnics and barbeques, lakeside, in backyards, in shaded parks or blistering ball fields.
Annie with her patriotic cake, 1987
Abbie, July 4th, 2009
Joshie needs some ice cream, July 4th, 2011
We are All-Americans, young or old, earning our pie or ice cream on the field of play and making the long hot daylight hours of July pass quickly in sweat and laughter.

Hmm..Annie....1990s.  Nice horseshoe form. 
Josh with a patriotic popcorn cake, 2014

Gabe at bat, 2014

Ben throwing shoes, 2014

Ben, taking a swing
Aaron, 2012

Abbie, taking a lead, 2014
Aaron makes contact. 2014
Behind every good sport, there is a crowd. At the end of the game, a shady spot waits...
Lee, Annie, 1986
Grandma and Grandpa watching, 1986

Levi on the "blue tractor, with Mommy and Papa Blake

Lizzie and Aaron watching the horseshoe game, 2014

In the breezeway, 1983
Lee, Annie, Granny, 1983

In the market breezeway, 2014

Josh, Levi sharing a tractor seat, 2014

Central Dairy sherbert, Annie and Kenzie, 2014
This is little America,but our holiday is not complete without a band. If no parade presents itself and no band marches by, we will be our own...
Granny leads the band, 1983

Annie is a band unto herself, 1983
More musicians, 1983

Well, festive, 1983

Levi with a big hit, 2014

And Lizzie is sweet to share, 2014

Lizzie, Thomas, and a rocket
There might be a float..or a juggler....
Ben showing off for Josh, 2014

We cheer and salute our own personal flyover:
Abbie, 2011

Brooks, with the flyover, 2011
The faces change with time and age, but the spirit is the same. The sun settles behind the trees; its falling rays turn the fields to gold....
Aaron, 2011
..and gilds the Lady Who Lost Her Car Keys and the 1912 Redbarn

Leapin' Lizzie, 2014
It's the perfect time of the day for champagne party pops, for sparklers, for smoke bombs and for parachutes. The youngest can participate in the wonder of sound and light; the oldest can see it all over again through the kids' new eyes.
Kenzie helps Josh chase a parachute, 2014

Kenzie and Levi with a sparkler, 2014

Josh has a 'chute!, 2014

party popper, 2014

smoke bombs, 2014
See!, 2014
Gabe loves it, 2009

Lizzie, 2009

Aaron sets a smoke bomb,2011

Gabe in 2011
Have to check.  Redbarn, 
My mama, 1983

Lee, 1983

Here in Missouri, the dewfall and high flying fireworks bring out goosebumps and oohs and aaahs. In between reports, the night noises remind us that each summer night contains its own quiet life and beauty. The shooters are invisible except for the small glow of the punks. The littlest members of the audience are more than happy to cuddle on laps and more than welcome to do so.
Cool 4th, 2010

Levi and Aaron, 2014


Lizzie does a dance, 2014


From our hilltop perches, we are part of a sound and light conversation. Thus has it been for as many years as I can remember, whether we celebrate north or south. It is bittersweet to revisit a 4th of the past, but cause for thanksgiving that our family takes it so blessedly for granted that these get togethers will be part of our family's story from one year to the next. It gives me pause that this is true for our beautiful nation as well. I head to bed after our show is over, after the spent smoke bombs and fountains have been gathered by flashlight, after we see the grand finale of the enormous spheres of sparks over Jefferson City from about 10 miles out, after the last small child settles to bed, scratching his chiggers.
This glorious day of celebration and tradition is now part of the "mystic chords of memory" for us all.
Josh, Aaron, the big flag, 2014

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