Monday, July 5, 2010

My Most Memorable Fourth of July, by Annette Skarin

My grandson, Joshua and I have a special bond. I have a child-like spirit and my grandson is a fun-loving teen-ager. We can laugh and joke in a way that only we get. We compare wound stories to see who wins the prize-I’ve been losing lately much to my children’s relief-especially since the time he was bitten by a shark.

In the year my grandson was about to turn three, I began to cajole my children to have a Fourth of July picnic. I had missed out on this holiday during my child-hood years while growing up on the prairies of Canada. My children were not as enthused as I was about going to a crowded park just to watch ten minutes of fireworks. I had a card to play because at the time I lived just a few blocks from a popular park where a fireworks show was being held. I won the hand!

On the day of the event I was pumped up with enthusiasm. My son and daughter-in-law parked in my driveway and unloaded the car. We filled a wagon with all the gear and goodies of a great picnic: blankets to sit on, ice, sodas, a barbeque, charcoal, chicken, hamburgers and finger-licking sauce. Joshua got to ride on his big dad’s shoulders (he is 6’4”).

My daughter Sarah came in her own car and joined us as we made the trek to the park. The air was permeated with the smell of roasted corn, savory stir-fried teriyaki, the pungent aroma of onions and cilantro from the taco booth, sizzling char-broiled burgers and sweet powder sugar dusted funnel cakes to name just a few.

There were booths with items such as hand-made jewelry, clothing and lots of shiny noisy toys for the kiddies. I bought a pair of earrings, which I lost one of years later, so I made a necklace out of the remaining one. I bought my grandson a light saber that glowed with an eerie green light (he recently told me that he had it for years). I ran around the three-tiered park with my grandson, as he took in all the sights with wide-eyed wonder.

My visual senses were electric with the energy of the moment when the show began. The bursts of fiery, vividly colorful flowers against the night sky; always left me with a sense of awe. My grandson was more thrilled by the close encounter of the sparklers, which his dad held for him, than by the expensive show. That was the last time we have gone to a Fourth of July show together as a family.

I am so thankful to have this memory as I moved to the State of Washington a few months later to help my mother. After I moved back to California a few years ago, I tried to get everyone together again for the Fourth of July, without success. So far! Hmmm…I might have another card to play yet.


  1. Gee, you painted such an idyllic 4th of July day that I got caught up in your enthusiasm.
    I could smell the aromas intermingling. Who wouldn't love a grandma that run around a three tiered park for her grandchild's delight.
    Your planning for the event was impeccable, as is your writing of it.

    Your Fan

  2. Hi Annette,
    Do hope you can get the clan together again for more memorable 4th of July picnics. Your description of the fireworks - "The bursts of fiery, vividly colorful flowers against the night sky" was pure Annette genius.
    Isn't it amazing how the little boys (my own grandsons included) go for the sparklers and the light sabers with the eerie green glow.