Sunday, July 05, 2009


Fourth of July, 2009

Independence Day 2008.

A Day for thanking all who fought, who were willing (and many did) to give their lives to give us the Freedoms we still enjoy today. God Bless them all and all those still fighting to keep our country free both today and all through the years.
While growing up I was often marching in the Parades with the girl Scouts, then for years we would walk the kids to the corner on the main road so they could enjoy seeing the parades. A few years ago they even had a small parade that went by the end of the road where I live now and to watch the fireworks going off at the firehouse about a half mile from my home, we simply sat out in chairs in our front yard while the kids laid on the blankets. I remember for a few years before that when we drove to see fireworks and sat on the car hood to see over the crowd. Then a few years ago they moved the fireworks up on the mountain at the ski center. Now the trees keep us from enjoying the fireworks from our own yard. Seems funny how we can see the lights from the ski center, but not the fireworks. Maybe it is because we live only a mile or two from the mountain that the trees are hiding everything, or maybe they are setting them off towards the other side of the mountain. I do miss seeing them, but not enough to drive through that madness of vehicles to watch it.

I usually have my flag flying in the flag holder on the front porch, but I had to leave it inside this year due to rain. In the past almost four weeks we have only had three good days with out rain. Actually only two clear days and it did rain for a short time in the morning of that third day, but the afternoon was nice. Rained again last night, but clear out right now. They are saying more rain tomorrow and most of next week. I am hoping they are wrong as there is such a thing as too much rain for some of the farmers crops, such as tomato plants to keep the plants healthy. It has helped keep my many flower gardens filled with blossoming flowers. But, I still have to go fill the bottom water holding section on my earth boxes that my garden plants are growing in. There is a cover on the boxes with only the plants them self growing through the poked holes so they do not get watered by the rain. Might be a good thing since my tomato plants do not get over watered that way.

My first memories of Independence Day were of celebrating this day at home with my family. As we grew up and had families of our own, my parents continued holding the great family Picnics where all relations were invited to attend. I remember all the work my parents did to feed everyone and to make the day so special for everyone. Over the years as the families became larger, everyone started bringing a dish of food to share with others. My Dad was the outside cook, while my mother did all the oven and salads cooking. I still remember those large containers of lemon flavored drinks, iced tea containers and coffee always ready to serve and re-blemished as soon as any container started looking over half empty. There was always my mother`s home baked beans and her famous baked rice, her chocolate cake and her apple sause cake, plus often her molasses cookies. It rook hours to make her baked rice because she first cooked the rice in a large kettle for hours on the stove until it looked like cooked oatmeal. Then she would add the ingredients to the rice and pour it into a large rectangular metal pan and cook it for a few more hours in the oven till the rice was real tender, but not dry. She would always add raisins to just half of the pan and leave the other half without the raisins to satisfy everyone who attended. I will always remember how long it took to make her rice because every year for the past 14 years I continued making it for the picnics. I was the only family member who ever learned how she made her rice. One time I tried on my own and it just never tasted as good as my mother`s. So, I asked her to let me know the next time she intended making it so I could come down and watch her. It ended up with me doing all the work while she sat and instructed me, so that is how I learned to make my mothers baked rice. Yesterday was the first year I didn`t have to make the rice because no one got together for a large family picnic. Seems like the family members are so much fewer and many live farther away and not as many were attending last year to make it seem worth it this year. Many of the families grown children and grandchildren are working and unable to tend, others are off camping or otherwise busy.
I remember after my Father passed away in 1975, my mother, with the help of all our family continued to hold the cook outs in her back yard for quite a few years. Then my oldest brother moved the huge family picnics from my parents back yard next door to his large farm. This is the same farm where my father grew up and that we had rented many years later from my father`s sister. This was where we lived when our twins were born. My brother bought it years later. One time my mother told me she wished the picnics were moved back to her yard again, but it never happened. I know my oldest brother thought it was a lot easier and lots less work for my mother and I do not think he ever knew her wishes. Been 34 years since my Dad stood at the BBQ cooking and my Mom hosted the 4th of July Picnic for all the relations on both of the family. We had lost our youngest brother the year before we lost our Mother. It now has been 15 years without Ken and 14 years since my Mom cooked her beans and rice, cakes and so much more. This is the second year without my oldest brother around to host the picnics at his farm. The last few years he was in a wheelchair and unable to do anything so each of my 3 sisters families and the youngest brother`s family and my family took turns being in charge of running the games and handling the grill and other doings which was still being held at his farm. Last year one of my younger sisters held a small get together picnic at her place. Only about 25 - 30 attended. I can remember many picnics when there was way over 150 attending. There were horseshoes, bad mitten, water balloons, and so much more to keep everyone enjoying the day. For a few years my brother had his son (who was not only a fireman, but trained in setting off fireworks), set off fireworks on his large farm. One year many of those attended drove to my brother`s camp, where that year , the fireworks were set off out over the lake. The ground was too dry and fear of a fire made it to dangerous to chance having fireworks on the farm that year.

So many many memories I still have from those years and years of family picnics with so many relatives showing up all at the same time. I remember you couldn`t walk two feet without finding another relative to chat with. The back yard was loaded with lawn chairs and if you got up, don`t expect the chair to be still empty when you got back to it. All of my the family brought their chairs to add to my parents and there were the picnic tables that my Dad had built. Some years they even borrowed chairs from the firehouse and even kitchen chairs often ended outside. The porch steps were usually loaded with sitters and to go in or out of the house meant some had to move. My mother also would toss down blankets on the ground to sit or lay on- great places for the crawling babies to play and sleep under the trees. Many of the kids played basket ball using my ball and hoop that my Dad had hung on his garage over the garage doors, plus crochet, horseshoes , a ring toss game and other games were set up in different areas on my parents property. There was never any kids fighting because there were so many games to play to keep them happy. I used to marvel that there was over 150 people together and all getting along. And food,- there was so much food and so many different kinds that no one went home hungry. I cannot remember ever seeing half that much food at a wedding or other big doings. There was always so much that I can remember my mother talking many into taking some of it home with them at the end of the day. People would start showing up early in the morning and most never left till long after dark, so eating went on all day. After all these years, my kids still remember the fun at the grandparent home when they were kids still in school.

This year I find myself missing those good old days when you got to see relations you hardly ever saw during the rest of the year. Most of them are gone today and it seems the younger grandchildren today have their own life to live and are not as willing to work all day, come home to get the kids ready and to rush off to a family picnic. In my day and in my kids day, we were always willing to rush down to join everyone, even if they had worked all day- they still showed for a few hours after they got out of work.
The best part of growing up are the wonderful family memories we made together. We were a lucky group of 7 children- I had three sisters, three brothers, three were older and three were younger- cannot get any more in the middle than that. Since our parents believed in family doing things together , we were left with some wonderful memories for all to share and cherish for years to come.

God Bless our Troops and bring them home safely is my Prayer. Keeping our country and other countries safe and free so that all those in Service can soon be headed back to their homeland is also important and Prayers also go out for that.

Hi Dot!

I didn't see this post until today; but I have to say you have sparked my own memories of times gone by. Yes, our family back in the day would have l00-150 at our family reunions!! Golly, I too miss those days!

You were SO blessed to have 3 brothers and 3 sisters, and yes ma'am, you couldn't have been "more in the middle" could you? :)

Of course, I'm very thankful for the two brothers that God gave me. My oldest brother died in l998, he was ll months younger than me so we were almost like twins! I miss him very, very much but as with other things in life, we just have to keep plugging along, don't we even though it is SO hard sometimes. I'm blessed to have good memories though just as you are.

You take care, and I'm sorry for just now seeing this post and hope you're doing well. I also hope you've gotten some relief from the rain; we've had it a lot also, but not as much as you have.

Sending you love and many hugs, Dot. :)
Yes isn't it lovely the memories that family gatherings give. I must say that my children have been lucky to have grown a bit like you--within walking distance of uncles and grandparents and a big group of cousins. They have very happy memories I know.
Thanks Sally. Sorry it took me so long to reply back. Seems like my life has been kept so busy the past few weeks. Been spending a lot of days visiting my Aunt as her son and his wife work and she is alone days. When I would leave her house, I would stop to check on my brother and go across the street to check on a sister and her husband, then on the way home would often stop to see how a cousin was doing.
Still getting a lot of rain and some thunderstorms. My Love and many Hugs straight back to you.
Yes , Hillgrandmom, being within walking of many relations and close enough to drive to many others has been great. Being in a large family that stayed close is wonderful. I am glad your children have had the same family closeness to grow up in. That is something no amount of money can buy. Our Family is not very large now, but the closeness still exists. Nothing can replace the love of Family. Thanks for stopping by.
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