I'm always full of fear on the fourth of July; I fear this will be the year when someone I love will blow off an arm or burn a house down. Or that my dear dog Abby will have a heart attack from all the explosions going on.
The men in my family are pyromaniacs. I swear they are. If it's loud and it's fiery, they are there. On this day, they all answer to the nickname 'Torch.' Years ago, when we lived in the country and had acreage, we were the hub of the activity on the fourth. We would set up tents and set out tables of food and buckets of beverages. It was an open invite sort of thing. Neighbors and friends and co-workers would gather at our home. The kids would traipse through the field and woods across the road to get to a secluded cove whose water was rated as a 'class A' meaning it was sparkly clean. They would gather fresh mussels and haul them home on a rubber raft. Once there, the kids would load the mussels into a tub of water and we would put them on a grill. Deliciously fresh.
One year, after the kids were told we had enough mussels and to hold off on a trek to the cove, they decided it was too much fun to give up so they sneaked. With all the company and laughter and music and noise, (and daiquiris and beer..) nobody noticed that they continued to fill the rubber raft with mussels. We also didn't notice that they hid the loaded raft in the woods near the house..and where they promptly forgot they put them in the excitement of Uncle Joe revving up his Harley and giving each child a ride on the road in front of our house and down around the horse farm which neighbored our property.
A couple weeks passed in the July heat and we couldn't help but notice a sickening stench emanating from somewhere nearby. It got worse and worse and we even considered the possibility that a) the cove had become polluted or b) our septic had malfunctioned. Then the dog found it, a black raft covered with rotted mussels. Our children were given the job of hauling the putrid mess far far into the back acres and dumping it.
Now we live in a neighborhood. We don't have the acreage needed to hold that sort of shindig. The kids have grown and moved out. I don't have the fear of MY house being bombed by mistake. However, my son has taken over the nickname of 'Torch.' And last night I feared for his safety.
I love the quiet of an empty nest. But sometimes I find myself missing the big fourth of July celebration and I am overcome with bittersweet nostalgia. I even think back fondly on that time, years ago, when my entire property smelled of rotten shellfish.
Week Three Summary
3 years ago