Fireworks on the 4th of July were an unknown thing to me until the summer of my twelfth birthday. My family loaded into our great white Behemoth and headed to Kennet Square, Pennsylvania, to spend the holiday with my mother's brother, my Uncle Joe.
Uncle Joe loved picnics more than anything. Long hours spent as a telephone linemen during the week placed a longing in him to spend his weekends firmly rooted to the ground. My Aunt Betty would pack cold fried chicken and deviled eggs, potato salad and canned bread and butter pickles into a large wooden hamper. A blanket to spread under the shadiest tree found, a plaid thermos of hot black coffee for endless cups, two teaspoons of sugar each.
My little brother and I exhausted the daylight hours on nearby swings, our father our begged for pusher to get us started. Khaki pants and squared off madras, moments treasured by children used to suits and ties. We couldn't imagine a promised ending of our day even better than these moments.
A nearby hill cresting a bowl shaped valley below, Uncle Joe instructed us to lie on our backs on the dampening grass and keep our eyes on the darkening sky above us.
I can remember to this day the electricity of anticipation and the satisfying fulfillment of all that had been promised. Disappointment was not possible on this special day.
I would hold close the memories of this happy day with my loved ones longing for the next opportunity to witness the celebration of the 4th of July. It would not come for many years in the future; but when it came, it was added alongside my most precious memory of this very first one.
SPECIAL THANK YOU: To Laurie of Magpie-Ethel for the inspiration her vintage sparklers provided in making my own felt ones. It's not to late to purchase one for yourself in her most wonderful Etsy shop!