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Submitted by Virginia Watts on Wed, 07/05/2023 - 13:18

Yesterday was a holiday here in the USA. Everybody knows that on July 4th we remember that this was the day we won independence. And this year we are keenly reminded that we never had it, not really. We are no longer subject to Kings or Queens of England, but we are held hostage by extremists who still want to curtail personal freedom, especially for people of color, especially for women. How has it come to be that after 249 years some of us are still trying to break free? Eighty-one years of living and I still have more questions than answers. The only sure thing is that we must keep pushing forward towards liberty for all. Even when we are pushed back, we must keep pushing forward. It's hard, often unrewarding, work. 

But sometimes we need to celebrate what we do have. And we do have so much. Without times to appreciate the freedom we have, we cannot find the strength to keep working toward the ultimate goal. 

I sent a last minute invitation to my family on July 3rd, telling them I was going to have potato salad, baked beans, and hot dogs available if they wanted to visit on the 4th. And yes, ice cream. I felt in need of a normal holiday with family. Potato salad is easy to throw together, and 'my' baked beans consist of canned beans in the crockpot with some brown sugar, ketchup, and mustard. How easy is that? This year I just put all the hot dogs and sausages in the same baking pan and put them in the oven to heat. How easy is that? There were times in the past when we made our own ice cream. We churned and turned and added more ice, more salt, to keep up the freezing process in an old fashioned ice cream bucket. But this year, store bought ice cream was pretty tasty, and effortless. How easy is that?

We didn't have fireworks, no need for any more loud explosions here. Plenty going on all around us. Everybody said yes to my last-minute invite. And we gathered together, ate, talked, wandered out to the very warm garden (some of us), and the cousins made plans for a visit to an amusement park on Friday, and people moved from group to group. There was a lot of laughter, and we didn't talk politics, not yesterday. 

Remember how awful lock down was, and how we all felt imprisoned for so long? I won't forget that, not ever. And our freedom to just be together put a shine on everything. There were no actual sparklers, but in so many ways, we all did sparkle. We all did shine. How easy is that?

red, white, and blue flowers