Who Says You Can’t Go Home?

Posted: July 6, 2011 in Friendship, Holidays, Life
Tags: , , ,

So I successfully made it through another 4th of July more or less unscathed, although my liver may disagree. I wasn’t at 80/35 like half of Des Moines. I wasn’t in the Ozarks like my sister. Hell, I wasn’t even on a body of water unless you count my parents four foot pool, which I absolutely do. My hometown of 400 had it’s 60th annual 4th of July celebration. Some of you right now are like, “Whoop-de-freaking-do.” However, I will have you know my hometown knows how to do two things really well. Farm, and celebrate the 4th of July.

I want to say that in my 28 years I’ve only not been home three times for the 4th. It just seems slightly odd to not be there. When you’re younger there are all sorts of games and kiddie rides in the park that I’m pretty sure cost maybe $1 to ride. You can do the cake walk and win a homemade cake, or get a piece of pie from the shelter house. I should note that these pies are generally made by churchgoing women over the age of 50–so you know they’re good.

As you move from a child to a teenager in my hometown the 4th loses a little bit of its allure. You’re too old to jump in the bounce house unless you can sweet talk a Lions Club member into having “big kid time” (which HAS happened) and in theory you’re too young to drink–although that never really stopped us.

As I’ve gotten older though the allure that disappeared when I was a teenager has come back. It becomes like a reunion of sorts. I have so many friends that are still back home and while we’ve never needed a reason to party, the 4th is one of those rare times where you know EVERYONE is going to get together. Growing up we all complained about there never being anything to do in our town and the 4th was the one guaranteed day that was NOT the case.

I see people on the 4th I don’t see often, or maybe even at all, unless I’m in the park after the parade. I see old classmates, their new babies, classmates’ parents and grandparents. I squeal and give more hugs that day than maybe any other–and I’m a hugger.

Our parade has more farm equipment than anything else–but it never gets old seeing someone you were out with the night before driving a tractor hungover. Our fireworks probably aren’t spectacular by most people’s standards–but for a town that at least quadruples in size on the 4th–they’re not too shabby.

This year was a little bittersweet with my grandma not being there. Her house sits right on the parade route and was right across from the park–prime 4th of July location. When I was younger, that was 4th of July Central. My friends and I were always in and out of there–hauling in cakes, changing clothes to go somewhere else–and grandma just LOVED it. She loved the 4th of July and seeing all the people that would walk by her window. I suspect she was still watching this year–she just has a much better vantage point now!

I realize that once I have my own family, the 4th in my hometown may not ALWAYS be an option. But I have to admit I’d be pretty disappointed if my kids didn’t get to ride the purple and gold train that’s been around longer than I have. It’s just home, and I fully understand that small towns and their celebrations aren’t for everyone. If you can’t get behind grilling with your neighbors, swimming in the backyard, eating warm Tootsie Rolls from the parade, or walking a block and a half between parties–then it probably isn’t for you and you can keep your big cities. That just means more homemade goodies and better seats at the fireworks for the rest of us.

  1. JILL FORD says:

    Your blog is wonderful. I too love small hometown celebrations where we know everybody and everybody knows us. Good to reunite old acquaintances. Hudson Days is like that too! I hope you made it through Bill’s move ok. It is probably not one of his finer moments, he definitely has too much stuff. I swore I was not moving him again! especially not in July!!!the hottest month of the year!!! But we got it done!

    • Stephanie says:

      Thanks Jill! We couldn’t have done it without you either…and hopefully by the next time you’re back in town everything will be exactly how it should be! =)

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