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4th of July

4th of July is my favorite holiday - family, parades, fireworks, red, white, and blue, and barbecue. This week’s blog will feature some of my favorite aspects of this wonderful day.

I’ve been fortunate to spend most of the 4th of July’s of this decade in Couer d’Alene, Idaho – it is like heaven here in July. Coming from Phoenix – it is green, cool air, and water. Need I say more? What I love about this day is everyone is looking forward to the day. 4th of July is great because you don’t have to buy any gifts – so no shopping, gift wrapping, or shipping. No matter what day of the week it falls on it is like the best Saturday you could imagine. No matter what your religious, ethnic, or political background – we are all Americans – at least for that day.

I will start the day with a great cup of coffee on the deck and watch the lake and my guests (usually a house full) come alive. 4th of July prompts an all-American breakfast – pancakes, eggs, Canadian bacon, hash browns, toast, and OJ. How can you go wrong?

Once everyone is well fed we have to rush into town to get our spot along the parade route which starts at 11am. The whole county is there to watch a parade of high school bands, pretty girls on horses, baton twirlers, political candidates usually running for County Recorder or Justice of the Peace sitting in a convertible with a pretty girl clad in sequins waving at the crowd – most of whom she probably knows. Well you get the picture – it’s everything that is great yet simple about America. The parade runs about an hour and with the sun bright and air moist you definitely work up an appetite.

We round everyone up and do our best to navigate the fastest route out of town. It’s back to the house to get everyone ready for an afternoon on the lawn, deck and beach. Bocce, washers, naps on the chaise loungers, billiards in the Rec Room with a movie or game going, a great book on an Adirondack chair, or just a swim in the lake, everyone finds their corner and activity for the afternoon. I focus on the food and getting the barbecue going.

Burgers, brats, potato salad, beer and red,white and blue Taramisu – ok not totally American but you have to like the red, white and blue aspect! The smell of the Kingford charcoals smoldering in the Weber is one of the best smells – it takes me back to my childhood and the same smell my Dad would originate from his Weber – most likely on a Saturday. As I cook, the tunes are cranked, and you hear the sounds of laughter and the kids and cousins playing. It is all idyllic.

The buffet is set – but it’s casual – paper plates, Dixie cups of cold beer or a glass of wine, and nothing pretentious – it’s 4th of July and no one wants to be stuck doing the dishes. Everyone sits where they can find a spot – again it’s a full house so there is no way everyone can sit around the big table on the deck. We eat, laugh, discuss politics, sports, the cost of a gallon of gas, or whatever the subject at hand happens to be. An ice cold watermelon awaits and sticky faces with watermelon juice dripping on swimsuits is par for the course.

The time between the barbecue and fireworks is followed by another round of games, another dip in the lake, or one more nap! As dusk descends everyone once again gathers after throwing on a sweater and grabbing another round of beverages its off to watch the incredible firework display over the lake. My three year old calls the fireworks - "firepit" but ultimately that is right where we end up for closing out the day with our friends the Murphy's who live next door. The hundreds of boats that were all quietly positioned on the water to watch the show now all spring away in the same direction like a swarm of fireflies - it is really something to see. A couple of smores over the firepit and a few more glasses of wine and before you know it we are solving the world's problems and reflecting on our wonderful day.

One by one our guests turn in but I am usually the lone survivor of the day. The embers slowly die down and another 4th of July is added to our family photo album.