ahh, summer. if you read my last post you will know i love summer. everything about it. i love the heat, the outdoor activities, the energy, and the food. the july 4th holiday is a perfect tribute to summer. i had such fond memories of the holiday as a child. our backyard neighbors always hosted a neighborhood party. it was full of delicious BBQ'd food, potluck salads and desserts like you've never seen before. there were games for the kids, but my favorite was catching fireflies. running around barefoot capturing one after another and dumping them into a mason jar in hopes they would live until the morning (they never did). oh and there were fireworks. glorious loud fireworks. it first started with sparklers for the kids and then progressed to the large fireworks display where everyone grabbed a chair and oooed and awwwed at the spectacular. the same guy every year always shouted "it's a beauty!" at every one. and the crowd would always laugh. it was great. it was summer.
each year i hope for a great 4th of july and i always seem a little disappointed. the fireworks are never like i remembered as a kid. the food was never in abundance. it just wasn't the same. until this year. we went to our friends house for the afternoon. it was hot outside, almost unbearable, but just as i remembered as a kid. the one thing that was noticeably different this year was my son, enjoying himself as an almost two year old. last year he had no clue and didn't get it. this year, he still had no clue, but got it. he and his buddies splashed in sprinklers, squirted each other with water hoses, and squealed with delight all afternoon.
the food was delicious, just what a 4th of july BBQ should be. my specialty, taco dip, was the appetizer. and nothing goes better with taco dip than a red white and blue sangria that i made. the first course was BBQ ribs that had been on the grill all day. the meat literally fell off the bone. my son repeatedly said, "mama i want to do it" and took a rib of his own and started gnawing away. i laughed at him with BBQ sauce from ear to ear, and well, literally head to toe. but that's what eating ribs is all about, right? 2nd course was grilled skirt steak marinated in my special sauce and grilled shrimp kebabs. throw in a few "nathan's" french fries and you have a perfect july 4th meal.
what was for dessert you ask? my friend, sarah, made her special strawberry cake that is the epitome of summertime and i brought these.
then it was fireworks time! sarah's husband, mike, brought out sparklers. my heart melted. kids faces were exploding with joy. there was abundant laughter, squeals, clapping, everything that goes with young kids and sparklers. there was a line of kids, 4 and under, watching my husband, and his cousins set off "big" fireworks. i use the term "big" loosely as they were really glorified bottle rockets, but the kids didn't know the difference. they had a front row seat to a pretty cool fireworks show.
suddenly, the 4th of july was just as awesome as i remember it as a kid. all it took was for me to have a child of my own and see the holiday through his eyes.