The U.S. Independence Day would have been my Mom’s 97th birthday. It was also the adopted birthday of the Patriarch of the Greek extended family that shared our rural neighborhood as I grew up. It was always celebrated with a pool party at the home of one of his sons with a spitted lamb, burgers, hotdogs, sides of every description all provided by neighbors, swimming, chasing, eating, and in the end of the night, a 21 gun salute over the woods to end the day. She has been gone 33 years, Pappous for many more than that and the son that had the pool, passed away shortly after the last one of those parties I remember at too young an age.
When our children were small and we lived on the coast of Virginia, we went to one of several different events over the years. Harborfest was one, a street festival with food vendors, music, tall ships, culminating with the symphonie or one of the Military bands playing, ending their show with the 1812 Overture that started the fireworks over the river. We watched them from city parks, the oceanfront once in awhile, but always crowds and so much traffic.
Once here, we often would go to the town park in Blacksburg and watch them there, still crowds, but not as much, some food vendors, and usually a 5 or more block walk to get from parking on a neighborhood street of the nearest large parking lot to see them.
On Friday, I messaged daughter and asked if she had plans for the 4th and she said she wasn’t sure yet. I asked when Christiansburg’s fireworks were as the rest of their activities were yesterday on the 3rd. Many of the towns up here had their celebrations on the 2nd, 3rd, or planned for the 5th since today is Sunday. Christiansburg’s fireworks were on the 3rd. She and I put together a quick get together with some of her friends, us, and Grandson 1 in her back yard with a cookout, cornhole, and a front row unobstructed view of the town’s firework show from her front lawn, followed by a box of backyard fountain type fireworks for the 16 year old to enjoy (I think at least a couple of the older than 16 year olds might have had as much fun as he did). It was a surprisingly chilly evening for July and the firepit was lit, S’mores made over the fire by those who wanted them and the warmth enjoyed by the rest of us. It was a very nice, enjoyable evening.
Before it got dark, she tried to take a selfie with the young one and he wouldn’t cooperate. I had her walk up behind him and caught a picture for her. She is not short, he is tall, but the perspective made it look even more extreme.
He will be returning home on Tuesday morning to attend a residential gaming/coding camp. We will miss having him here. He has been very helpful with chores, we have had some play time, too. Yesterday before going to daughter’s, we took our two bikes, rented one of the e-bikes in town and went for an hour ride on the Huckleberry Trail. My knees didn’t take kindly to it, but there was no residual pain once we were done. He has taken walks with us, played basketball, gone to the pool, and whooped his granddad repeatedly in Ping Pong. We look forward to his return near the end of the month for a bit more time here to go to basketball camp and a bit more play and work time with us. So we have had work days, play days, and quality time with a grandson. We are so grateful that he is allowed to come stay with us for extended periods in the summer, knowing that this could possibly be the last one makes it bittersweet. He is of an age where he wants to be with his friends, wants to get a parttime job, and coming here to hang out becoming less of a draw. We are grateful the years he has come.