Posted tagged ‘barbecues’

“America is a tune. It must be sung together.”

July 4, 2017

I have traditional posts for most holidays. When I try to write something new, I find I can’t do better. It seems I poured all of my feelings and memories into the very first post, but here is an old memory I’m happy to share: when I was a kid, I marched in St. Patrick’s Shamrocks, a drill team which competed all summer long. All winter we learned our on-field maneuvers. We marched in local parades including the one in Wakefield on July 4th. One of my parents’ friends had a house on the parade route. Everyone would be on the lawn or the front porch to watch the parade. When St. Pat’s marched by the house, everyone yelled my name. I was both embarrassed and delighted. That’s one of my favorite memories of the day.

I just love birthdays and today is the grandest of them all. Happy Birthday, America.

On July 3rd 1776, John Adams wrote a letter to his wife Abigail. In it, he predicted the celebrations for American Independence Day, including the parties:

“It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other.”

The problem was he expected July 2nd to be Independence Day as that was the day the Second Continental Congress voted for independence, but the signing ceremony for the Declaration of Independence didn’t happen until two days later so because July 4th appears on the Declaration, it became the date we celebrate Independence.

I know some people complain that the meaning of the day is lost in the barbecues and the fireworks, but they have forgotten John Adams’ hope. We are celebrating exactly as he wished. Flags are waving everywhere. Families get together to celebrate and to break bread, albeit hot dog rolls. Fireworks illuminate the sky. Baseball is played on small town fields and in huge stadiums. Drums beat the cadence in parades. We sing rousing songs celebrating America and our freedom. We also sing heartfelt songs about what America means to us. We are many sorts of people, we Americans. We don’t all look the same, eat the same foods or dress in the same way, but we all celebrate today and we share a love of country. Happy Birthday, America, from all of us Americans.

“America is a tune. It must be sung together.”

June 30, 2015

This morning I was rudely awakened at 8:30 by the sounds of mowers and saws. I cursed. Come to find out, they were working on my front yard removing the branch which had fallen in that tremendous rain storm, trimming the forsythia and wild roses and blowing my deck clear of leaves and twigs. They also cut off the branches which hung over my umbrella. After they finished, all was quiet except for the birds then a shrill voice broke the silence. It came from next door, the renters ( I almost want to make that word totally capitalized). They have about a 4 year-old girl with the sort of voice which causes chills up and down your back. She’s not quiet, and she yells often. Right now she is crying. The noise forced me inside.

The red spawn has learned a valuable lesson. I didn’t fill the beastie’s favorite feeder so it is forced to use one with wire mesh all around the seed area. When I blasted the feasting beastie with the hose, it couldn’t get out of the mesh fast enough. When I went out on the deck this morning with my papers and coffee, the spawn got out of the feeder and ran. I raised my hands in Rocky type triumph.

What a glorious day it is today. The sun is bright and warm and the sky is blue and beautiful. The slight breeze is cooling.

I have to dress my flamingo in its Uncle Sam outfit for the holiday. It is a star filled blue vest, an Uncle Sam hat and a white beard. Jaunty comes to mind. My Travelocity gnome is always dressed in red, white and blue. He’s a patriotic gnome. I think his name is Henry.

From as long ago as I can remember we celebrated the 4th of July. We always had a barbecue, and we always went to the parade. I love parades with all the music, the floats and the pageantry. Every parade, no matter the length, seems to start and end the same way with police in cars and on motorcycles at the beginning and fire trucks at the end. On July 4th floats and bands, drill teams and drum and bugle corps filled the parade with color and music. Uncle Sam walked the route on stilts. I love July 4th. I’m already making plans!

“There is no real need for decorations when throwing a barbecue party – let the summer garden, in all its vibrant and luscious splendour, speak for itself. “

June 5, 2015

This morning is warmer than yesterday morning but still in the 50’s. We have sun and blue skies and a bit of a breeze. It’s a pretty morning. Lots for me to do today including laundry, sweeping the deck, doing some errands and painting a part of the fence.

Last night my friends came for dinner. Other than the mixed grill, everything I served was new to me. That’s taking a chance, but usually my dishes are successes so I head confidently into the unknown. Every dish from appetizers to dessert drew compliments. I was asked to share two recipes, both simple to make, and I was pleased to oblige.

Last night I used the grill for the first time this summer. There should have been fireworks and majorettes and weather warm enough for dining al fresco, but that will come soon enough.

The first barbecues I remember were hot dogs and hamburgers on a small charcoal grill. My father always did the grilling. It is a strange phenomenon that men who never touch a stove do all the outside cooking. I think it harkens back to cavemen hauling home a piece of meat to be cooked over the fire. Tending the fire was men’s work which translated over time into cooking on a grill. My father cooked the meat perfectly no matter what it was. The menu changed as I got older, and my father cooked sausages of all sorts, steak tips, pork tenderloin, chicken and one of my personal favorites, ribs. My mother made all the side dishes: potato salad was the family favorite.

My father always cooked with charcoal, but his was the light a match and toss it on the briquets type which smelled a little like chemicals when it was first lit. He waited and watched and knew exactly when to start the cooking by reading the coals. He kept a spray bottle near him in case of flares ups. He’d sit out there, have a drink or two and cook, usually by himself. His attention was all for the food, not conversation.

He’d pile the meat on a serving platter, come inside and announce dinner was served. We were ready. The salads were made, the table set, and we were hungry for that food we had smelled cooking through the opened windows. It was always kudos for the chef.

SUNDAY The day..I planned a lot but actually do nothing.”

August 10, 2014

The Sunday of old is gone. Stores are now open, churches have far fewer people and Sunday dinners with the whole family around the table are a thing of the past. I loved that Sunday, except for the church part, but I have noticed the Sunday of today has become, in some ways, like that Sunday of my childhood. Not a single lawn mower breaks the Sunday morning quiet. The birds can be heard singing. My neighbor works every other day of the week, but today he’ll sit on his deck, chat with his family and later he’ll barbecue. He does the same thing every Sunday. That is, I’m thinking, the new definition of a family Sunday dinner: sitting on the deck enjoying each other’s company and barbecuing a chicken.

The day is gorgeous. I couldn’t invent a nicer day. The sun is bright and the morning is still cool. It will get warm today, in the high 70’s, but tonight will be cool again, down in the 60’s, and wonderful for sleeping. This is when I wish I had a tree house so I could sleep outside. I’ve already build one in my imagination. The walkway will be from the deck and will have rope sides and a wooden bottom for easy walking. It will jiggle a bit but still be safe. The treehouse will be big enough for a table, a couple of chairs and a day bed. There will be a tablecloth, a bit retro like the ones from the 50’s, and flowers in a vase on the table. The windows will have curtains; I’m thinking flowers. Below each window on the outside will be flower boxes filled with blossoms of all colors. The door and the windows will have screens which let in the night air but not the night bugs. I will fall asleep among the trees lulled by the songs of night birds.

So far as I can see, a procession has value in but two ways–as a show and as a symbol, its minor function being to delight the eye, its major one to compel thought, exalt the spirit, stir the heart, and inflame the imagination.

July 3, 2014

Arthur will be dropping by tomorrow bringing showers and thunderstorms. This afternoon we’ll have heavy rainfall and hail. My July 4th barbecue is now July 6th. The events originally scheduled all over the cape for tomorrow, like parades and fireworks, are either cancelled or postponed. It will be a dreary 4th of July.

Today’s weather is so humid I swear the wicked witch would melt. I can even imagine hearing her cackling as she melts and becomes a puddle on the deck. My air conditioner is blasting wonderfully cool air. I turned it on yesterday afternoon when I began melting. I, however, did not cackle.

July 4th is the holiday which has changed the least over the years. Towns, big and small, still have their parades and fireworks. Barbecues are lit in backyards everywhere, and the air is filled with the smell of food cooking. We used to have hot dogs and hamburgers when I was a kid. Now I have ribs, chicken and sausages. Potato salad is still a necessity. Mine this year will be sweet potato salad, and I’ve found a great fruit salad I might just add. Corn on the cob slathered with butter will round out the meal. I always think of corn on the cob as the great American vegetable.

My sister won a prize in the July 4th doll carriage parade. She was a hula girl wearing a grass skirt. My mother made a similar skirt for the doll carriage and the doll. My sister even got her picture in the paper, but black and white didn’t do her justice. She was Hawaiian colorful. Only once did I take part in the decorated bicycle parade. I didn’t win a prize, but my bicycle was great looking with colorful crepe paper wound around the wheel spokes and hanging off the ends of the handle bars. In Colorado my grand-nephew is going to be in the decorated bicycle parade. I believe crepe paper is involved. He is quite excited at being in the parade. I know that feeling.

On July 4th some movies are a must see. If you want the patriotic route, there is always the musical 1776. I, however, think the best of all movies to watch is Jaws. It even takes place on the busy holiday weekend when, because of the vacationing crowds, the mayor wouldn’t close the beaches that is until the little kid got eaten. The second movie to watch is Independence Day when aliens screw up the holiday by trying to vanquish the population of Earth. As if that would happen!

Today I will stay home. The roads will be crowded with people looking for something to do to occupy their rainy day. I don’t have enough patience to deal with that.