Growing up, my best memories of July 4th, the U.S. Independence Day, were picking out my clothes in shades of red, white and blue, helping my mom put our U.S. flag outside our house and getting to run around with fire sparklers around our backyard at night.
Sparklers were for the younger kids (say 8 years old and up), while the big kids were helping the adults set off fireworks on our side yard. You’re not allowed to light off your own fireworks now in NJ for safety reasons, come to think about it, I’m pretty sure that you weren’t allowed to back then either.
I can still smell the savory scents of the day: hotdogs, sauerkraut, hamburgers, sausage, peppers and onions coming from the grill, and the aroma of mom’s potato salad, barbecue chicken and corn on the cob coming from the kitchen. We barbecued all day in our backyard, and my parents would have their friends over. And, everyone brought their kids, so the kids were always off playing on their own.
My mom would also make a U.S. flag cake, decorated with blueberries, strawberries and whipped cream, and my dad would stand over the grill until everyone had their fill. I can still hear him calling me his “bicentennial baby” because I was born in the year of my nation’s bicentennial, 1976. (more…)