Sunday, July 4, 2010

July 4th at Church, by Nobuyo Avery

"Holiday"....what a comforting word! While our children were at home, "Holiday" was the resting day from work, school, study and all the obligations and duties to fulfill during the week. It was an oasis for a hard working housewife, mother and professional to relax and enjoy a day. While my husband's uncle and aunt lived in Wilmington, California, they invited us for every holiday to their house or to the park celebrating a day with a family.

Aunt Fay was a good Southern cook who always entertained us with soft, delicious roast beef on every Sunday with tasty green beans, or corn on the cob, mashed potato with gravy, homemade bread and cakes or pies. She always served ice tea for drink. On holidays, they barbecued in the back yard or at the park. The park in general was beginning to be too crowded in later years, and Aunt Fay preferred to stay at home to cook for us. Since they moved to live in Arkansas we missed them mostly because of her delicious meals. My children always say, "Aunt Fay was a good cook!" to this day.

They were a kind and God-fearing couple who took us to church when we did not have transportation, watched and cared for our children without hesitation, and did more than our parents who were in Arkansas and in Japan. We are grateful to them, and especially Aunt Fay. They were our only close relatives in California. Since they left, it became my turn to cook Sundays and Holidays. Our kids often say, "Aunt Fay did not make like that!"

For the last twenty years or so, we have had our July 4th celebration at the parsonage. It started when Pastor Jerry and his wife Sarah invited us, all the church members, to their backyard party. The parsonage is next door to the huge church parking lot where the teens can play basketball, baseball or football. The younger ones can ride bike or tricycle. The church provides the meat and buns and we bring pot luck on the sides, baked beans, all kinds of salad and desserts.

When Jerry and Sarah were here, we chatted in their beautiful backyard with a pond and a little gazebo, enjoying church family fellowship all afternoon. After dark, we lighted the fireworks each family had purchased and brought in. The children and adults gazed at the ones shooting high up in the sky, or the ones twirling all over the ground. There were many varieties of fireworks in the sky, loud ones, colorful ones, some beautiful and some long lasting.

We enjoyed the ones in the neighborhood and in the distance, maybe shooting at the near-by parks. My favorite is the sparkler, making soft sound "spark, spark!", stretching the sparkling arms short and long for a minutes or so of enjoyment while I am holding on to the a foot long slim wooden stick. As if it were saying, "I am small and quiet but you love me more than loud, noisy and glamorous ones!”

After Jerry and Sarah left we kept it as the tradition to celebrate July 4th at church. We are looking forward to celebrate the freedom of this nation this Sunday evening with our church family and be thankful to all the sacrifices of our soldiers who made this peace possible in our country.


  1. I enjoyed your story. Your pastor and his wife sound like the pastors of my church. We have picnics throughout the year. A church family should be close-knit like that. We don't have our own church building yet and we wouldn't be able to fit in their backyard. Your story was warm and very up-lifting.

  2. Hi Nobuyo,
    What beautiul memories you have.
    It is always sad when our loved ones move away. Aunt Fay and her delicious dinners will never be forgotten. You were lucky to have Pastor Jerry and his wife Sarah to carry on the celebrations and now that they are gone that your church family continues the tradition. Never mind what the children say, I'm sure your Sunday dinners are just as good as Aunt Fay's!