Thursday, July 3, 2014

Happy Throwback Pre-July 4th Thursday!

It's Throwback Thursday and the Day Before a Holiday!
I L-U-V the day before a holiday. I L-U-V the anticipation of festivities to come. I L-U-V the nearly lighthearted atmosphere at work as people hope and pray their name comes up first on the early out list.
Here on the Coast of Illinois, July 4th is celebrated with BBQ, pool parties, a huge local fair, traffic jams, humidity...
And of course, fireworks.
nothing like the rocket's red glare reflected in the Muddy Mississippi and the gleaming steel legs of the Gateway Arch
I don't always go to the Big Fair for my firework fix. Some years I sit in the living room with the lights out and watch the show my neighbor puts on for his grandkids. This year I will be floating in a dear friend's swimming pool, sipping 'dirty bananas' and scanning the skies for local shows.

Of course, the 4th hasn't always been spent that way.
(Here's where the throwback comes into play...)

As a kid, we would venture to the park in Shelbyville. My first memory of fireworks is being terrified of the noise and then being held in utter fascination as two ships appeared from the carnage and shot sparkling cannons at one another until one sunk. Pretty fancy for a small community show.

As a teen in north-central Illinois, we spent the 4th at Lake Calhoun, a private lake club.
(We weren't fancy. Our choices for swimming were the Lake or the Strip Mine. And while 'strip mine' sounds a whole lot more risque, my folks opted for the Lake as it offered camping and a tiny lake to motor around in Dad's fishing boat.) 
The Lake sported a pretty nice swimming pool and a Club house which played host to teen dances once a month and on July 4th.  
Picture Dirty Dancing but without the Catskills, a dance troupe or Patrick Swayze.
Still, I can't hear 'Smokin in the Boys Room' or 'Layla' without being transported back to those awkward teen years spent sulking in the corner with my Carol Brady shag wishing that super cute guy with the Sean Cassidy hair would come talk to me. In retrospect, I am sure he was completely intimidated by my denim romper and my smoky glare.
Or maybe not.

But of all the 4th of July memories, my favorite has to be from 1976. The country was in a fever-pitch celebration of our Bicentennial and my folks packed up the family truckster and headed cross country to Mount Rushmore. We saw Wall Drug, the Badlands, the Chief Crazy Horse sculpture-which at that time was a barely discernible nose and outstretched arm. We swam in a hot spring and we watched fireworks in a field for no less than 6 hours.
And that is only because no one could stay awake any longer. I am pretty sure those South Dakotan's continued to blow things up into the wee hours of the next two days.
You put four people in front of Mount Rushmore and this is what happens.
(I am probably going to be in HUGE trouble for posting that pic. But seriously! How hilarious is this picture and what a snap shot of 1976!)

What are your favorite 4th of July memories? Keep them fondly filed in your hearts and go out and make some wonderful new memories this year.
But please, do it safely! Don't blow any fingers off, shoot any eyes out or crash your vehicles. Drink plenty or water and keep the antacids handy for the aftermath of all that BBQ.

And come back next week for the Coast of Illinois Goes International in Road Trip to Canada or My Search for A1-eh!


  1. My memories of July 4th are all pretty typical and not too terribly exciting. Cookouts, parades, pool parties, and fireworks. However, seeing fireworks at the Gateway Arch would be AWESOME. I went to St. Louis for the first time this past May and I fell in love with the city.

  2. There is something very inspiring when those rockets glitter off the river and the Arch. However, this year the fair and fireworks was held as Art Hill in Forest Park as the Arch grounds are being revamped. Equally beautiful but not the Arch. If you make it back to the Coast of Illinois let me know!


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