The 4th of July is my least favorite holiday. I get the day off as a paid holiday, which is nice, but really, the day you need off is the 5th of July. How do you typically celebrate American Independence Day? With fireworks, of course. When do you watch fireworks? After dark, of course. When does it get dark in July? Around 9:00 pm, of course…
Our neighborhood goes CRAZY for fireworks, and I’m not talking about little fountains and sparklers. No, I mean the big guys. The “way up in the sky go BOOM” kind, as my eldest daughter described them when she was a toddler. A couple of years ago, we decided stop buying fireworks at all since the neighbors three houses down from us spend literally thousands of dollars on fireworks that we can watch for free. They start before dark (which always seems like a waste to me, but it’s their show, they can do what they want) and continue until midnight or later. We typically have guests watching fireworks with us from our driveway, so by the time the neighbor’s show is done and our guests are on their way home, I find myself staggering into bed at nearly 1:00 am. When the next day is a weekday, as it is this year, that means I have to stagger out of bed the next day to get to work.
I could live with that, but the other problem I have with the 4th of July is that it always feels like a long day of waiting around until the show starts… We’ve done different things on the 4th, like going to community festivals and the like. We’ve often killed some time going to an afternoon movie. Once we spent the day on the lake in our boat. No matter what, it just feels like it takes a long time to get to the main event of the day. For a couple of years in a row, we were on vacation during the 4th and treated the day just like any other vacation day. We didn’t even seek out any local fireworks shows and were fine with that.
When we are home for the 4th, we often, as I mentioned, have guests. The neighbor’s show is so good, people who have heard about it want to pull up a lawn chair and see it too. For some reason, our guests tend to show up late afternoon, no matter how much I’ve tried to encourage them to come later. My husband likes to take over the cooking for the day and makes fried chicken, potato salad, and homemade ice cream. But there is only so much time you can spend eating, even when it is homemade fried chicken and ice cream, so I find myself having to use all the tricks up my hostess sleeve to keep everyone entertained and conversation flowing for hours until it’s dark enough to migrate out to the driveway to see what everyone is waiting for – the “way up in the sky go BOOM” show!
This year, I fully support my husband not doing so much work in the kitchen! (File that under Things Women Don’t Say Very Often.) I suggested we drag the fire pit out to the driveway and cook hot dogs and s’mores over it during the show instead of slaving for hours over the fryer in the kitchen. Hopefully he’ll go for it. I also want to make a plan for the day that doesn’t leave us feeling like we are just killing time. My proposal is to spend the day at the pool (if it’s sunny) or spend the day marathoning the Alien movies (if it’s rainy). Either option should involve ice cream, but I’m fine with just getting sundaes from the nearby McDonald’s rather than freezing our own ice cream at home. Especially now that I know McDonald’s will put both hot fudge and hot caramel on your sundae if you ask!
How do you celebrate American Independence Day? Am I the only one who finds the whole thing rather tedious?