The Fourth of July came and went uneventful for me this year. Well, actually I’m not sure that’s at all accurate. This Fourth of July was very different from any that I have ever had, filled with a bunch more drama that life feels my family deserves, and a lack of normalcy (drama being my sister ended up in the ER).
The past several years I have made it a point to have the Fourth of July off, as I typically work most holidays and weekends, I somehow justify this annual vacation. However, this year, life just seemed to rush forward into July and I didn’t bother thinking about any summer vacation, let alone request any of it off. I feel bad for my mom here, as this is the one holiday I have made a point to spend with her. Sometimes these small changes really bring to light how much really is affected by everything.
As a kid my parents use to take my older brother and I to our grandparent’s house where the daytime was filled with my dad making dry ice explode inside 2 liter bottles, and Lassen and I shooting off these miniature iron cannons. What’s sad about remembering this holiday is just a year ago, when everything was still fine and dandy, I asked about those cannons. These summer holidays and vacations just hold a special spot in my heart and always have. My brother and father’s suicide weren’t a factor in that, as both were around when I mentioned our old tradition.
I loved this time of year as a kid. Living in California, and as kids visiting Baja on annual camping trips, we had the standard illegal fireworks to shoot off and enjoy. Mind you, we never got the ones I see lighting up the sky, or even close to the ones people seem to be playing with now.
Anyway, my older brother and I would ping-pong back and forth on setting up the fireworks at night, while our dad lit them up for us to all enjoy. My grandmother would have a cake made with the American flag designed with fruit, and we’d hear stories about all the trouble my dad got into with fireworks and exploding sinks.
Obviously eventually my younger brother joined the mix of our Fourth of July tradition, and with time, it changed a little as well. One of the last Independence Days I remember celebrating with my older brother was our trip to Lake Havasu. We never were at the lake on a holiday except this one year, and I couldn’t tell you exactly which year it was, but I remember a nearby boat playing Eiffel Tower’s “I’m Blue,” so I’m going to say it was somewhere near that time period of being somewhat current music.
We drove the boat all the way from where we normally camped, which was typical a boat-in site, and made our way to Havasu City to watch their firework’s display. To this day, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a city sponsored Fourth of July event. The amount of boats packed on the lake to view the show was amazing, so packed we could almost jump from one boat to the next. My dad never was one for crowds, and though everything was fun, different, and eventful, perhaps the sheer amount of people is what kept us from doing it again.
I do believe shortly after our Havasu trip, perhaps a few years at most, my brother was no longer available to participate in our yearly camp-outs. With my younger brother and I being the only ones in several years to join my dad, my older brother’s presence was always missed. A year never went by where we didn’t wish he was able to join. I realize part of that was just him being in the Navy, and part was him having his own family. Still, it’s sad to know the opportunity will never be there again.
Summer always brought camping with my dad. Besides the year after my parents got a divorce, we never missed a summer. I suppose things are different now. I don’t foresee any camping trips in the near future. Not sure this season will ever be an easy one for me, as it’s filled with many stories, events, and memories from both my brother and dad.