The Best 4th of July

by Patricia Green
(Panama City, Florida)

It was my first 4th of July in Florida. It was special because it was the Bicentennial. The year was 1976 and it had rained everyday during this summer. I was so worried it would rain on Independence Day, but I woke up to a very sunny day. We had made friends with our downstairs neighbors and we planned a great day of fun with them. First, we headed to Alabama to get some fireworks. On the way back, we stopped at a fruit stand and grabbed six watermelons. Within thirty minutes we were in the backyard putting the melons on ice. Dad fired up the grill and put on steaks, and had the hamburgers and hot dogs ready to add after the steaks cooked. Inside, my mother prepared the baked beans. They were loaded with bacon and onions, and flavored with brown sugar, mustard and honey. YUM! Aunt Gail put on the potatoes to boil for homemade potato salad, while my sister prepared a delicious green salad. Outside, on the back porch, my Uncle Gary had started making the homemade ice cream. My part was to make the coleslaw. I was excited because this was the first year I could help. After the food was finished, we began taking everything outside. Chips, dip, three different salads, a cooler full of pop, the beans and an assortment of pickles, olives and other condiments. I, for one, was still eyeing those ice cold watermelons. We spread out blankets and then started preparing our plates. I piled my plate high with burgers and salads, grabbed a pop and dug in. I ate until I was nearly full, but I wanted to save some room for the ice cream and yes, of course the watermelons. While we waited for it to darken, we played in the pool and had a good game of tag. We played until we were pooped. It was getting dark and Dad and Uncle Gary started sending up the fireworks. We could also see the big display that was being held at the marina. While we watched, we listened to music and ate the watermelon. It was a day to remember!

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