July 4, 2020 would have been my mother’s 96th birthday. As kids, it was celebrated at a neighborhood pool party and feast. We lived in what is now the suburbs of Virginia Beach, then a county. Our houses were all on several acres, so neighborhood is being used loosely. Four of the houses were a Greek immigrant and his 3 sons and their families. The patriarch of the family had no idea what his birthday was so he celebrated on July 4 and one of his son’s had the pool and a fantastic outdoor kitchen with a spit and they always grilled a lamb with lemon, olive oil, and oregano. Everyone brought dishes and the kids spent the day in the pool, we ate, and celebrated Papu’s and Mom’s birthdays.
As young adults with kids of our own, there were neighborhood block parties, fireworks at the ocean front or a local park and the traffic jams trying to get home. Blacksburg and Christiansburg, the towns nearest us have fireworks and we usually have our oldest grandson at this time of year and sometimes his Dad too and we go in to see them. Not this year. With the social isolation, we went in at lunch time, for drove through food, took a walk on the old rail grade, masking when we passed anyone or were passed by cyclist, and returned home for the afternoon spent planting more corn, pulling the corn suckers from the ones that were up and transplanting them if they had roots, repairing a leaky garden hose, and watering pots and newly planted seed. I cooked burgers on the grill and had corn on the cob, then drove to a little town nearby to get ice cream only to find hundreds of people in the street looking at various cars, having some sort of street festival and no masks in sight, so we drove to the county seat to a drive through for cones. By the time we arrived back home, the sun was going down and I tackled the overgrown yellow Bearded Iris bed, first cutting back their tops, then digging them all up to divide.
Three large clumps set aside for friends, the remainder tossed into an area we don’t mow where they will set roots and bloom. The finished bed will be an overgrown mess again in two years.
It just wasn’t the same watching the fireworks on TV, but some of the music was nice.