Our small traditional independence day

Growing up in a small town in  NE New Jersey there was a club for the men.  Mom and I called them the HoHos, which will do for now.  They sponsored holiday events around the town.  Every year they voted in one new board member who started at the bottom and every year moved one place up towards the President.  My Dad was one of those members.  But what the HoHos really did was make kids happy.  At Halloween they sponsored the costume parade and window painting in the downtown area.  At Easter they ran the egg/candy hunt.

But my best memories belong to the 4th of July.  In the morning they ran races for the kids at the ballfield – egg on a spoon races, hoop races, running races, sack races….something for every age group.  This included horseshoes for the Dads and a rolling pin throw for the moms.  Medals were awarded.  There was a refreshment stand where you could buy, for very little, a hamburger at 10 am.  Giant pixie sticks, penny candy, hot dogs, soda – not the best food, but perfect for the day.  Then everyone would head to the Lake for an afternoon of swimming, then home for dinner.  But before heading home, most of us would move our blankets and chairs over to the beach around the “boating” area to reserve our spots for the fireworks that night.  The HoHos would spend their evenings, for a week or so, knocking on doors in their neighborhoods asking for donations for the tickets to the fireworks.  You paid what you could or wanted to.  So, after dinner, everyone would join a long line of people walking back to C Lake to find their chairs, maybe buy a treat from the ice cream truck, and listen to the band play patriotic music for a while.  Once it was dark enough, the President would stand in the middle of the crowd and signal the fireworks to begin.  I can remember watching my Dad do this when it was his turn.

Now, I like to watch fireworks, but I don’t like the booms.  So I’d cover my ears.  But, for small town fireworks, they were always grand.  The firetrucks were nearby in case of wandering sparks, but what a show.  I miss 4th of July in that small town.

Now we have a small, just us 4th of July.  Our town doesn’t have game or a parade.  The Cub isn’t big on the booms, and neither and I, and the works go off to late for him yet, anyway.  So we have a quiet day at home.  This year we mowed the lawn, the dressed in red, white and blue, relaxed, and had london broil and potato salad for dinner.  This was followed up by M’Lord lighting a fire in the fire pit and Smores.  The Cub loves Smores.  So do I.  As a scouts, we both grew up on them.  By the end of the night, between the natural charcoal from the grill and the fire I smelled like summer camp.

But back to the smores.  The Cub is not a neat Smores eater.  Nor should he be!4th Smores

Then we moved on to Sparklers.  Red ones.  I work in PA, so I bought one small 8 count box before heading home that previous Thursday.  Backyard fireworks are illegal in NJ, but I wasn’t going to worry about one small box of sparklers.  Anyway, after the smores we lit up the sparklers.  The Cub was scared for the  first one, but after the first one he wanted to hold another lit one.

4th Sparklers

He looks a bit nervous, but he got the hang of it and was quite disappointed when we ran out.  I’ll need to get more for next year, I guess 😉

M’Lord and I ended the night by watching A Capitol Fourth.  The booms are muted and covered with music, so that is my fireworks fix.  But just after it ended, M’Lord decided to wash a quarter of the kitchen with a “flood” of V8 Fusion.  I knew that I needed to give the flatware drawer a decrumbing, but I wasn’t intending to do it at 9:40 at night because the drawer and holders were now full of juice.


But it was a good day for us.


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