|Is anything happier than a boy celebrating Independence Day?|
Well, here we are on another Independence Day. Our celebration is fairly low-key nowadays since our kids have grown up, but we'll still have a cookout and crank a traditional freezer-full of homemade ice cream. That'll probably be about the extent of our efforts this year.
But in the past we were an enthusiastic bunch, as you can see from the expression of unmitigated joy on my son Wyatt's face in the photo above.
Living in Washington state, we have lots of legal fireworks at our disposal, which was quite an eye-opener for me when I first moved here from the east, where we as kids were thrilled to get a sparkler and to light up charcoal "snakes" or colored smoke bombs on the sidewalk. My kids grew up with far more exotic stuff in their arsenal and the boys, especially, planned avidly for weeks in advance of the big day just how to get the most "bang" for their buck(s). The annual trip to the fireworks tent was almost as exciting to them as Christmas, especially if they went with Dad instead of Mom to do the selecting, because Dad could be counted on to go hog wild right along with them.
Our small neighboring town has its hokey annual parade, and when the kids were very little it was a big deal to be allowed to join in, either walking the dogs and waving flags, or being hauled about in the back of Dad's old Gibson tractor, tossing candy to the kids on the sidelines.
|You know your local annual parade is really tacky when THIS is the winning entry!|
|Independence Day, about 23 years ago.|
After the parade, we usually had visitors to hang out for the day, exercised our 2nd Amendment rights shooting clays in the back field, grilled burgers, ate ice cream, and generally kicked back and enjoyed the general mayhem as the kids indulged in their "day fireworks"--pop-its and other noisemakers, and my personal favorite, the firework that launched little parachuters that floated down from the sky. When it got dark (finally--about 10:00 p.m. at this latitude) we assembled lawn chairs and got ready for the show, the kids laughing at the sight of Dad lighting the fireworks and then dodging out of range before each one went off, me holding back dogs who were determined to risk life and limb attacking each of the strange, spluttering, noisy creatures that skittered and sparked across the carport. Good times!
|Wyatt shooting clays with Uncle Fritz. All my boys were in 4-H Gun Club for a while.|
|Madeline, Gar, and I with our patriotic cakes... Dig those 80's eyeglasses!|
And now, before I bore you all to death, I include one last 4th of July tradition, watching this hysterical vintage Johnny Carson show clip:
John Twomey...What a classic! And dig that hairstyle and plaid blazer!
About that ice cream I mentioned... Here's my recipe (yes, my very own!) It's so easy to remember, because you use 2 of everything. It's very easy to make because, unlike some recipes, you don't have to cook an egg mixture and let it cool, you just mix, put it in the freezer, and go. It has a great flavor and a sort of crystalline texture rather than a creamy texture. Everyone who tries it loves it. Just be sure you don't do as my husband did one year and think that "2 dashes salt" meant 2 teaspoons salt. Now that was a bad batch of ice cream!
Old Fashioned Vanilla Ice Cream
2 quarts half and half
2 pints whipping cream
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla
2 dashes salt
Mix ingredients and churn as directed for your ice cream freezer. Yummy!