I’m not a huge “celebrator” of holidays. Let me just preface this by saying that. Daddy wasn’t either, really.
Thanksgiving and Christmas get a little more of my time. But that is primarily because of the of the commercialization that is forefront with them, in particular. Otherwise, I don’t think I’d be very inclined to make a big deal of them either.
Over the years, I have become a homebody. I couldn’t tell you exactly why. But, the fact is, anything that attempts to overrule that is sometimes met with great distaste! Although, to be honest, that is a pretty wide statement.
Celebrating The Fourth
The fourth of July was always a time of celebration at our house when I was young. We often celebrated by going to the lake, watching fireworks and having ice cream floats. I think it was the only time during the year that we EVER got ice cream floats, actually.
We often celebrated with my brother, who was quite a bit older than me. Sixteen years, to be exact. He and his family would often accompany us to the lake. So would certain cousins, who usually traveled a long way for the yearly event.
Kicking Off The Summer
It was like the fourth actually kicked off the summer for us, as I recall. It was often our first trip to the lake for the year. But after that, we usually went quite often, to swim and sun and just have a good time.
That’s something that I do with my own family, now that I’m grown, quite often as well. We visit the lake as often as we can through the summer and fall. Sometimes, in early spring before the camps actually open, we go to hike, cook out and just enjoy the weather.
When I was young though, we never camped, which is something me and the hubby do with our kids. When I was little, we usually went to a beach at a little place called Dog Creek, not far from where we lived. It was the nicest beach of any I can remember.
These days, I don’t even think it’s possible to access the Dog Creek beech unless you’re actually a camper, though. Which is kinda sad. Seems like just a money-making spiel, but I don’t know. That’s just my humble opinion.
Daddy was born July 4, 1935 in Harlan County, Kentucky. All of my growing up years, I was under the impression that all the fireworks and celebration were strictly for his birthday! 🙂
Yes, I knew that it was patriotic and held a great significance for our country. But, as far as Daddy let on to us kids, that was his birthday party that we were going to. And I have to say, as a kid of seven or eight years old, I was pretty proud! Who else had a birthday party that big!?
My Daddy, that’s who! 🙂
And so it was, that the facade held fast and true until I was old enough to catch on. Of course, Daddy being the prankster that he was for as long as I can remember, it didn’t surprise me.
Pranks and Stories
Daddy was always telling tall tales. He just loved to get us kids “riled up”. I remember one time, he told me and my neice (we are only a little more than a year apart), that Indians had attacked my grandmother when she was young.
Of course, we met the story with a hearty “Nuh-uh!”, but he insisted.
We knew my grandma was OLD (HA!), but we couldn’t believe she had been attacked my Indians! So, one day he finally decided to send us to grandma’s house. He wanted us to get the story “straight from the horses mouth” so to speak.
We ran across the road, excited that we were going to be able to do one of two things: prove Daddy wrong (for the first time ever!), or hear the whole, true story!
We came through the door breathless, explaining in great detail the story that Daddy had told us. How she had been out in the mountains alone, and came upon Indians. Before she could get away, Daddy had said, they speared her in the side, after which she barely escaped with life!
She slowly rose from the couch, pulled her shirt up and her pant-waist down a bit, to reveal a long jagged scar. My niece and I stood, bug-eyed, staring in disbelief! Grandma never said that the story was true or false. Just showing us that scar was enough. We were firm believers from that point on!
I’ll never forget those days, all those years ago. It is with fond recollection that I think back on things like this. Or the way my parents, every Saturday night, would play music on the television or radio. They would dance and laugh, many times with family members around to share the good times.
These were especially the scenes when we lived in Harlan, up in the holler. We would often build a “gnat fire” – something I’ve never heard of outside of the holler – and family would come from all around. They would bring instruments and we would visit, sing and dance late into the night.
I guess it is this “tradition” that I’ve often tried to recreate with my own children. However, times are nothing like they were up in the holler, or on the lake. People are much more prone to drama nowadays and so you really have to be careful.
Does History Repeat Itself?
They say history is prone to repeat itself, and I surely hope that’s true. That maybe, just maybe, someday, people will remember what it’s like to gather together for fun and memory-making. I don’t know if it will ever be or not…
But we are doing our best to instill the ideals in our children’s heads. Always telling the stories, as vividly as possible, so they’ll know how things use to be. To me, that’s just as important as teaching my daughter to cook, put food back and save when possible.
How about you? Do you have any particular traditions that you carry on from your own childhood? I’d love to hear about them 🙂 Let’s keep those traditions moving!