Today is another one of those holidays when I feel my age. No, my bones aren’t creaking, and I don’t have any aches. But I missed the neighborhood parade, and tonight I’m missing the fireworks at the local country club, although my family has gone there as is their usual custom. Now, I know I don’t want to sit on a curbside (I’d never get up!) to watch a small local parade, and I surely don’t want to sit on a blanket on the ground under fireworks exploding over my head, but I am still aware of being out of the loop.
If I didn’t make it to the parade, my car did. Friends Marj and Colman came to get it last night to drive it today in the parade not for our neighborhood but for an adjacent one. I thought it looked pretty spiffy, and Colman pronounced it a good car, said he enjoyed driving it. I had given him a thorough lesson on how to get out of our twisted, tortuous driveway—and darn if he didn’t do it without ever having to realign once. I am so jealous. You might note that cute guy sitting in the passenger seat. He’s special to me.
I was thinking back on previous Fourths and came to the resounding conclusion I have no tradition. When I was a teen, friends and I used to go to Chicago’s Soldier Field to watch stock car races—so unlike me! —and the following fireworks show. Looking back, I’m amazed my parents let me do that.
The intervening years are a blur. I don’t remember fireworks in Kirksville, Missouri where I went to graduate school, nor do I remember much about celebrations in the years of my marriage. Except one year when we went to the home of a friend of Joel’s. They shot off their own fireworks, and I was terrified those cherry bombs and whatever would turn around and get us. I was only used to professional shows that I watched from a distance, not something in someone’s back yard. Jordan was a baby that year, and I clutched her close to me. On the way home, Joel braked the van so abruptly that I slid onto the floor, still clutching my baby girl.
Some years the kids and I went to various “high points” to watch the city show. One year it was the long Lancaster Street bridge, with their Uncle Bob. He and I both had panic attacks, induced by height, on that darn bridge, and the kids had to lead us off. A couple of years I went with friends to Oakwood Cemetery where there was a great view of the city show, and then for several years I went with neighbors and friends to the country club. But I can’t say that I have a great tradition of enjoying fireworks. Actually, I don’t like to have them go off directly over me. I’m always sure my heart is going to stop.
Jordan and Christian hosted a few friends for pizza before the fireworks tonight, and I went in to have a drink and visit. These were some of my favorites among their friends, and I enjoyed it. But I was soon ready to come out to the cottage and fix my supper.
I’ve dubbed this a salmon Fourth. Last night I stuffed a head of iceberg lettuce with cream cheese that I’d cut diced vegetables into. So today I paired the leftover salad with some smoked salmon I had in the fridge. And tonight, I made salmon croquettes—one of my all-time favorites—and heated up some green beans that Christian had tossed in butter with sautéed shallot. Dressed both the croquettes and green beans with lemon. So good.
I have fireworks on the TV, from where I know not, but I’ll probably spend the rest of the evening reading. Thoroughly content.