Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July!

My earliest memory of the 4th of July is making squiggles with sparklers at Brownwood Lake with my best friend Sarah, around age 3, while our young mothers played Tom Petty's "American Girl" into the hot Texas night. I was too young to understand anything other than the simple explanation I was given- "Today is America's Birthday"- but at that age I could already grasp that birthdays were good times, and always worth celebrating. In the years after, I learned more about the significance of the holiday, the history behind it, and like many elementary school students I memorized the preamble to the Constitution. On top of the historical significance, the 4th is forever linked in my mind to family get togethers, backyard BBQ's, and homemade fireworks displays shot off from the back patio of my Granny's house in Brownwood, TX.

Last 4th of July Bobby and I celebrated by taking a short road trip to Palmer Lake to take part in their well known festivities. Our friends were in town from Salt Lake City visiting their parents, and they invited us out to stay with their parents and watch the fireworks.

 The town of Palmer Lake is nestled around the lake, and then creeps up the side of the surrounding mountains. It's incredibly quaint, and has the tight knit feel of a good small town community. We got there early, and people were already staking out spots along the water's edge, laying claim to a prime view of the fireworks that would be going off later that night.

 We had some time to kill before meeting up with our friends, and we were starving, so we decided to grab some food at The Depot. The entire place was decked out in red, white, and blue banners, flags were everywhere, and there was a nice celebratory vibe to the whole place. It's a family restaurant with excellent service, and despite being two vegetarians in a meat heavy establishment, we still found plenty to eat.

Doin' my best All American Gal wink. I know, I know, it's not that great. Focus on the fried mushrooms.
We met up with our friends after, and spent the afternoon hiking up the gorgeous canyons (if you're ever in the area, I definitely suggest doing some hiking). After a few hours we returned home tired and hungry, ready for dinner and fireworks. Right as the sun started to set, the rain began- not just rain, but a pretty impressive thunderstorm that threatened to cancel the celebrations. It eventually blew off and turned into a persistent shower, and the fireworks were back on. We decided to nix our plans of walking down the dirt roads to the lake to watch the show. Instead we crawled up into the tower of their turn of the century home and watched the fireworks popping and sparking off in the distance. We could see the entire valley spread out below us, and the fireworks showering over the lake, reflected double in the water. Between the good conversation, excellent company, and the quirky experience of watching fireworks through a rain storm huddled together in the tower, it was altogether a great time.

This year our 4th of July will  be much more low key, spent hanging around town and laying a bit low. We're leaving on a two week long, 3,000 mile road trip this coming Friday, so we canceled our previous plans of celebrating the 4th in Santa Fe, NM in favor of checking out the local celebrations. A morning hike is on the agenda, followed by watching fireworks wherever they happen to be. If you're interested in a neat factoid story about the roots of the American movement for independence, check out this link to read about Liberty Trees.

Whatever you may be doing this 4th of July, I hope it is a safe and happy one!

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