July 4th has always meant picnics, barbecues, and family get-togethers. It's always HOT and there are always fireworks. As a kid, we spent many of these holidays at my grandparents' home in the foothills. It is always very, very dry at this time of year up there so Grampa would spend most of the day soaking the ground in the yard and all around the area. He and my four uncles were all volunteer firemen and actually founded the station there in Raymond after they came back from the war. Several of them acted as captain at one time or another through the years. We are very proud of all they did!
With 17 grandkids, numerous great-grandkids, & various add-ons, the crowd could get rather large. It was quite the event and we'd have hours worth of fireworks to keep the group entertained. As we got older, it was a rite of passage to be able to assist in the lighting of some of the "whistling petes" or the "ground flowers" instead of just playing with sparklers. Even with the day long prep and careful planning, we still had the occasional mishap. The brigade was always ready though with lots of buckets full of water and garden hoses manned. Gramma was prepared with lemonade & Kool-Aid and salve for any burnt fingers.
As we celebrate this great nation's birthday, let's keep our good thoughts and prayers going out to the brave men and women who face danger on a daily basis whether here at home in our local fire and police departments or overseas in our military branches. They are part of what keeps America - Land of the Free and Home of the Brave!