Ever wonder why writers always seem a little distracted? Disconnected? Like they are on another planet? With a strange vocabulary and an odd twist on the mundane? It's because we're writers. Through a Writer's Eyes will help you see what we see and how we see and why we say what we do. Feel free to join the conversation. Let me know how you see what I see. Thanks for stopping by! Enjoy the journey!
The Fourth of July.Independence Day.America’s
Waking up today brings me back to Jackson Park.How many years did we picnic there, I
wonder?Grandma would start packing the
day before, would have been talking about it for days on end and I would have
been committed to doing any number of things.
“Krissy, can you bring that upstairs?”
“Krissy, take that downstairs.”
“Krissy can go with you to hold the picnic spot.”
“Krissy will help you set up.”
“Krissy can watch the kids while you do that.”
No wonder I associate work and activity with happy days.
It was always Yvonne’s birthday party on the 4th
of July, too.Her birthday isn’t the 4th,
but when we were very little I thought it was and that she got a bigger party
because her birthday was in the summer, not in the winter like mine.
A testament to my foster family is that I never felt as
though Yvonne, my foster cousin, had a bigger party because she was “real”
family.But only because she had a
In fact, looking back at all those family gatherings, I
never felt as though I wasn’t one of them.I never was made to feel like an extra or a burden or anything but
family.All holidays included a mix of unrelated
personalities, but summer holidays even more so.
And food.Oh my word
the food!Potato salad and potato
chips.Hot dogs and brats.Hamburgers and steaks.Fresh baked and store bought.Spread out on plates and platters, in and out
of coolers, above and below picnic tables.Eating would begin for the set up/saving table crew as soon as we got
there and end when fireworks closed the day.
At some point on the 4th of July, the cousins
would inevitably walk around Jackson Pond.I see us now following Grandpa, trying to match his endless stride.Someone would dip their toes in the pond,
someone would try to skip a stone, someone would trip, someone would catch
someone else.A pack of chattering,
laughing, sugar-highed kids.
The years and memories mix together, a kaleidoscoping
montage.I don’t remember which belongs
to when.How old were we when we stopped
at the little bridge and Ron ran down to the water?I see us there, clearly.Or when Kendra’s fluffy hair and baby smile
made their first appearance?I
anxiously, happily watched Cheryl laughing along from the car to the picnic
table with her new bundle of joy.
and Shari and me swam one year from one end of the pool to the other – width wise,
of course.I wore a blue two-piece with
white trim.I guess I was about 9, maybe
Logically I know there were stormy, too cold, too hot, too
buggy 4ths of July.But I can’t
remember them.I see the trees, the
lagoon, the boats floating along, fishers of carp and moss, endless ice tea,
card covered tables with laughing players, Frisbee-catching, lawn dart-throwing,
baseball-tossing smiling faces.
Independence Day was a big deal to us.Our picnic site was populated by several
generations of military personnel of various ranks who had served through war
and peace.This group, this collection,
this family understood the sacrifice associated with American freedom.
I have since tried to share those things with my own
children, but our experiences were different.They were raised in a different place in so many ways.They
almost always saw fireworks, but never from the hood of a car in Arlen’s
parking lot.We usually had some kind of
picnic, but never crowded with so many stranger/family/friends as Jackson
I hear Barbara Streisand singing as I write today.
Memories light the corners of my
Misty water colored memories, of the
way we were.
Could it be that it was all so simple
Or has time rewritten every line?
If we had the chance to do it all again
Tell me, would we?Could we?
That's the real American story. We have the freedom to enjoy our families, our homes. To find happiness. To share differences of opinion and history.
Happy Birthday, America! Someone stop at the little bridge in Jackson Park for me today and throw a rock in the creek on my behalf.