Sunday, July 5, 2009

The 4th

I have come to the conclusion that when you are from Crawford Nebraksa, the 4th of July is part of your DNA. There was a certain aire about the hustle and bustle of Crawford as it could always sense the coming of the 4th. It seemed everyone anticipated the holiday. The air changed for at least a week before. Relatives from Georgia, Oregon and such fanciful places (to a girl from Crawford) would arrive. If we were really lucky our friends from Oklahoma would arrive early for wheat harvest. It was/is the biggest event the little town was/is known for.
Growing up the 4th was always the highlight of the summer. Big picnics, lots of relatives, lots of food, lots of fun. These are some memories from those years I still hold dear to my heart and wish I could recreate. Maybe not all of it but the best parts of it.
When I was younger I always looked forward to the watching the parade and then playing with cousins at my grandparents. I also recall watching a couple of my older cousins (Renee' and Deana) holding court in my grandpa's front yard, flirting with all the boys cruising by. Yes, as I became their age my best friend and I would hold that same court.
I recall all of my great aunts, aunts, and my dad's cousins cooking and preparing mountains of food. I am especially fond of the fried chicken everyone brought! It was also a day that I could gorge myself on pop. There were coolers full of it. Just as long as you knew which one's were pop and which one's were Barley!
As I got older I began taking part in the parade. Our 4-H club, Guys and Gals, and later Corn Valley, would spend many a late night creating floats. I think I could stuff green and white tissue paper into chicken wire in my sleep after those nights. There were also the times that I twirled baton in front of the high school band and then later played in the marching band.
There was always the curb wars that occurred for the prime parade watching real estate. Grandpa and Grandma lived on the corner where the parade turned to head down main street. It was the busiest part of the parade route. When I was younger Grandpa would often let us stay with him the night before the 4th and when I was older we stayed with him to help take care of him. Part of the gig was that you got poked early in the morning (about 5:00 a.m.) with a cane and told to hurry and get the lawn chairs out on the curb before the neighbors put their chairs out there. When I was older I really resented this as I had just laid my head down to try to get some sleep before I had to line up in the hot sun to march. SSHHH. Don't tell, I'm sure my parents and relatives don't know this:).
After the parade it was hours of picnicing, water fights with friends and cousins, walking down town, and seeing how much trouble you could get into without getting into too much trouble. Twoards the evening you had to get dolled up for the PRCA Rodeo. When I was little I just wanted to see the bull riding (because I wanted to see the clowns) and the fireworks. When I was older there were more things to worry about. :). Like finding a cute boy to dance with at the dance after the rodeo:).
Over the years the 4th routine has changed quite a bit. Once grandpa passed away we didn't have the house on the corner to stage the family picnic. We still feel displaced. We still like to view the parade from the same corner but our hearts ache just a bit when we can't just turn around and walk into the house and hang out on the porch people watching. Now, we gather a few relatives and head to park where everyone else without a cool house to hang out at gathers. I still beg Emily or Jackie to bring fried chicken. The 4th would not be complete without it.
My heart aches when I can't go home for the 4th. I missed it dearly this year. Growing up I didn't realize how much the rituals of the 4th defined how I viewed the holiday. Even though we had a great time trying to fill our weekend with fun I still missed my family and relatives and the feel of Crawford this weekend.
We had a great weekend and saw lots of great friends in our adopted town but truth be told I will always wish I was home on the 4th. I even had fried chicken. KFC but none the less, fried chicken. We watched a parade but no horses, bands or 4-H clubs. There were tractors and fire trucks which was good but not the same. The girls didn't notice because they were pleased with gathering loot! All-in-all a good weekend. But not Crawford on the 4th.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like you really had some great 4th of July's growing up. Those are memories you can cherish forever!