Tuesday, July 04, 2006


After blowing my proverbial stash, (the weekend’s ration of dollars didn’t drip out so much as gushed, fast gone on Blue Owl’s bootlegged cocktails and salumi pairings) I skittered off as always to the refuge of the countryside.

The Fourth of July at home is quintessential, magazine-cover-story great.

My father’s lemon chicken, the fennel flecked slaw, German red-skinned potato salad, and peach cobbler, bubbled and wafting a sweet spice throughout the kitchen.

And the preparation of the meal is as delectable as its consumption.

The cold water cleaning and trimming of the drumsticks, a generous pour of yellow pepper, heaping gold and black hills.

The chop of scallions, cabbage, chives in strips.

The best is our refreshments; chilly lemonade, fruity wine, lime-drenched gin and tonics.

On the porch I can gaze upon the day lilies, the hydrangeas, the iron gate above the hedge, the lion’s head fountain flowing into the stone sink, the sun dial, the white brick and pebbled path that bisects the lawn. My mother's garden and home is in full bloom.

Further on up the road, beyond the miniscule art gallery, the yellow building with white shutters that houses the town architect, and the weeping willow, is the pond. That’s where my dog bounded oblivious around the edge, and then right in, the top camouflaged by an overgrowth of algae, suddenly finding himself chest deep in water, and with a panic, jumped out and shook himself vigorously and on me.

When the light has gone, my mother burns tapered candles and we ladle ice cream and espresso as my father and brother prepare the contraband. The cats snooze.

An enormous package screaming colors, fat cones and sticks with wicks, shooters, sprayers, shreikers, streamers. We celebrate the birth of our nation’s independence as the Simpsons do—by blowing up a small part of it.

Soon our lawn is ablaze, popping flashes and long slips of white and purple. It glazes the sky, filling it with billowing fog.

The snap and crackle of sparklers is no match for the boys’ grand finale, the whistle piercing my ears, drawing celebratory honks from the occasional car that passes, a fresh round of barks from the dog, applause from us on the porch.

I love this holiday.

Happy Fourth of July!


themarina said...

I hope you had a great holiday. I'll take any reason I can to celebrate with the family.

mamak said...

"On the porch I can gaze upon ..." that is beautiful. I can picture the scene and I feel the happy glow!

NotCarrie said...

I can tell you love this holiday just from your descriptions. Awesome!

c-47 said...

my fourth of july for the past x_____ years has been spent on a roof in china town directly across from the juvenille detention center. beers are downed in alarming quantity, crappy burgers on a grill too small, precarious hopscotch through the cable tv wires that cross hatch the dangerously sloped roof, and then $1600 dollars of fireworks (purchased in pennsylvania and illegally transported into the city) are set off with a blaze and earsplit to rival all of chinatowns new years celebrations. an excited eight year old grin on my face, a spent book of matches in my fist, a stumble downstairs, and a finale dance party. i too love the fourth of july.

Cheetarah1980 said...

I spent the 4th on a 12 hour drive. Yours sounds a 1000 times more fun.