Fireworks & the Fourth of July

Today is the Fourth of July, the day we celebrate our freedom here in America. Today we will see flags waving, eat all the summertime foods I mentioned in a post last week, maybe go sit up on main street to watch a parade and when the sun goes down, head to the nearest field with a blanket, sit down and watch the fireworks. I love the Fourth of July. On Instagram today, someone said that America may be bickering inside itself, and we may not be perfect, but I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else…I agree.

You know I love parades. I have stood in the cold in the early morning for The Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade on Columbus Circle in NYC, I have stood in the rain in Baltimore for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, and I have been in freezing temperatures on a New Year’s Day to watch the Mummers strut down Broad Street in Philadelphia, but there is nothing better to see than the Fourth of July Parade in Catonsville, Maryland.

Catonville is a small suburb of Baltimore, and it is where I spent most of my school days. We settled here when I was 11. I know I talk about Philly a lot, because I was born there and I was living in South Jersey (which is so close to Philly, people joke about it being a suburb) before I moved to Hawaii, but in actuality, I consider myself to be both from Philly and Baltimore…I am just a Tri-State girl. Anyway…I love the Catonsville 4th. of July Parade.

People start putting up lawn chairs to mark their spots along the parade route about a week before the holiday. It’s always a big joke and some might complain about it, but nobody ever moves the chairs. Maybe they complain because somebody got to their spot first, I don’t know. But the chairs stay in place and it’s really amazing nobody steals them, but they don’t. The parade itself has a small town feel to it, not big or flashy, just perfect. Think Mayberry, but on a slightly larger scale. Kids are waving small flags as the bands play and small floats go by.

After the parade, it’s time to eat all afternoon. And just when you think you are too full and can’t move a muscle, it’s time to get in the car and head over to Catonsville High School to watch the fireworks. A lot of people pile into cars and get stuck in traffic, but if you are not too far away, the best thing to do is walk. I’ve been known to walk a mile each way to watch the fireworks. You may think that is crazy, but walking gets you home faster than sitting in that traffic. And you walk off your big meal, so you have room for a little ice cream or a snow cone after. It’s a win-win situation.

It’s funny, on the mainland, we only really have fireworks today, they are not something that people have all the time, but here in Hawaii…people shoot off fireworks all the time. I have seen some great displays off barges in Waikiki in the fall and the whole countryside lights up with illegal aerial fireworks at midnight on New Year’s, but I think I enjoyed the small-town high school display better.

I would say in general, that this holiday almost needs a small-town feel to it. It’s what America was all about back in the day. Very Norman Rockwell, with kids running around with small flags and cherry pies cooling on windowsills. And when it got dark, those same kids would be running around with sparklers and watching the night skies for the first big boom of the night and a huge burst of light. This is what I choose to remember about America on this day. Happy Fourth of July!!!

***Question for the comments…What is your favorite part about the 4th of July? Do you have one?

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Hi, I'm Tracie. I am a writer, reader, life coach, lover of the city and the beach. I am a big fan of all things caffeinated. I dig things from many different decades, but am a definite child of the 80's. My blog is about everything and anything my mind conjures up. Enjoy the ride.

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