Monday, July 04, 2011

the way we were

For years, we travelled from Memphis, TN to Racine, WI for the week of the 4th. We spent it with my mother-in-law who lived on the water of Lake Michigan in a very spiffy gated marina. She no longer had her boat, but the smells and the sights and the sounds of the marina gave her much comfort, she loved it there. So did I. Racine does not scrimp on 4th of July, with the largest parade in the midwest and a long fireworks show. For these years, we enjoyed both of these events, I tried my best to soak it in, knowing it would not last forever. Our family lined up on the street, with Jeff getting our spots at 6am. He would take his coffee and his chair and spread out, guarding our territory from late comers. Someone would spell him after a while until soon, we all showed up, looking to our right to see if we could spot the first squad car, then the Harley riders. 
We would take Schatz the WonderDog and she would howl her lungs out at the firetrucks!! It was a family event that I dearly loved. We would all go back and my Mother-in-Law and I would cook everything in the fridge and invite anyone who would come. As the sun set, the open field next to the house filled with people, and a barge would push off 100 yards into the Lake. At 9:30, the fireworks show began. We would sit outside, bellies full of bratwurst and potato salad, with our family on the blankets. In all the years we attended, it never rained and the show never disappointed. The fireworks were so close, we felt pieces of soot and paper land on us. It was magical.
Since then, health issues have brought many changes and Mother-in-Law no longer lives in that wonderful place. I have been spoiled for 4th of July celebrations. The town we live in now, in Illinois, doesn't have a parade, though fireworks are supposed to happen tonite. 
I don't go. The kids go, but it's not the same for me. 
We have sinced moved from Memphis and Mom now lives closer to us but she and I both miss those years, I just know it. Every year, I beg my Hubby to take me, but it has yet to happen.  I just stay grateful that those memories are there. 


  1. What a poignant tribute to Independence Days past. I hope you are able to get back there some year. It sounds wonderful. Happy belated 4th to you.

  2. I have wonderful memories of 4th of July fireworks (in Chicago) too. Our little town here in Wisconsin had a very fun parade and simple, short fireworks at night. The ones in Milwaukee are amazing, but you have to have a good attitude about crowds. I'm glad you still have your memories from the past to enjoy...sometimes going back isn't so easy. Nice post.

  3. What wonderful memories you have, Sissy! It's sad how things change over time, but that is part of life, I guess. I hope you get to go back to Racine one of these Independence Days.

  4. What sweet, poignant memories Sissy. If there's one constant in life, it's change.


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