Happy 4th of July! I hope you have your flag flying today and are planning to celebrate our nation's birthday with some good old fashioned fun!
One of my favorite memories is of my mother making a cake and decorating it with a firecracker for a big family celebration. Not a REAL firecracker! She painstakingly drew a firecracker by hand and filled in the design with icing! I was pretty impressed and proud that my mom made the cake for BIG event. Everyone oohed and aaahed over it and was duly impressed.
Our great aunt and uncle had a beautiful home on the St. John's River and the whole family was invited to come to "the river house" to celebrate the 4th of July. There was a slew of cousins visiting from out of town and lots of fun things for the kids to do, but every one's favorite thing to do was fishing with Uncle. Uncle was into fishing and he had a super long boat dock and at the end was a covered area where he kept his boat. He supplied cane poles for all the kids and we would line up on the dock edge and fish with Auntie's dough balls, catching brim! Uncle would have a big fish fry at the end of the day cooking up the catch (of course he contributed to the catch with his own catch) of the day.
One of my favorites things Auntie made (in addition to the dough balls) was hush puppies! She made the best hush puppies you ever put into your mouth! Her secret ingredient was beer (I say secret because my Granny would have been outraged if she knew) and although most family members were clued into that "secret", Granny remained unaware and ate her fair share of them. There were gallons of sweet tea, delicious potato salads, creamy cole slaw and golden delicious fried hush puppies to be enjoyed under the oak trees hanging with moss. We ate outside on folding tables, mismatched chairs, plastic checkerboard table cloths, paper plates and plastic utensils.
It was a sweet time, lots of family laughter and stories to be told deep into the night. That's how it is with southern families, there are always stories to be told and passed along from generation to generation. I wish I had paid closer attention, but being a child I was more interested in playing with my cousins, chasing fire flies and playing hide-n-seek! We would run bare-foot through the grass and swim in the cool river and have a glorious time being outdoors playing. We made up games to play, and when we were tired, we'd get a drink out of the hose and chill on the rocking chairs on the screened- in porch until one of the adults would shoo us out to play again. Those days were golden, carefree, and some of the best days I remember as a child.
More importantly, as you celebrate today, I hope you will take a moment to thank God for His blessings on our nation. Please remember the men and women who are serving and those who have sacrificed their lives to protect our country and the freedom that we celebrate today!
God Bless America!