The Five enthusiastically celebrated Independence Day 2009 with our grandparents in Bristol, patriotic Americans that we are… in perhaps the start of a newer 4th of July tradition. As I reflect on this particular holiday, which needless to say is close to my heart due to the proximity of my birthday, I can recall several different phases.
When we were very little, there would be a gathering in our cul-de-sac… Mr. Donaldson (“Burt”… a true Southerner), our previous next door neighbor, played a key part in organizing this event… there was ice cream (which was rare for us back in those days… yes, amazingly healthy children) and fireworks (even though they were illegal)… and sitting on the grass in our front yard, which seems to appropriately capture an aspect of the original American frontier spirit.
As we got a little older, the three girls started spending the first week or two of July with my grandparents in Vero Beach, FL… a distinctive point of this phase was the standard phone call to Uncle Adam, since his birthday is the 4th of July… we would have a festive dinner al fresco… then go out on the Indian River Lagoon to watch fireworks from their boat. I love watching fireworks from a boat. And I don’t think they’re illegal in Florida, which is kind of a plus, because <polishes halo> most of the time we are law-abiding citizens. 😉
The last couple years we’ve stayed in Charlotte, or been at Sandcastles, Ocean Isle Beach. The highlight for us is normally the Charlotte Symphony’s annual ‘Celebrate America’ concert in Symphony Park on July 3, complete with fireworks… and we might have a few friends over to swim or grill… before spending a week at the beach. It’s like the perfect American holiday celebration, something out of a Pottery Barn or Ralph Lauren catalogue.
This year, in what came as a sad disappointment to the Charlotte community, Symphony officials chose to cancel the patriotic concert because the Squicciarini family would not be present. However, because of our love for the city, we begged conductor George-Albert Schram to reconsider. “The show must go on!” we pleaded. He finally agreed, with the provision that there would be no fireworks. “How could we light up the Charlotte sky when you will be missing?” he asked, in his charming accent. So the music played… 😉