Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Fourth in the North

There’s no place in the world that I’d rather celebrate Independence Day than in Northern Michigan.  From the crowds present this past week, I’d venture to say many others feel the same way.


The Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays, and one that’s rich with tradition.  For nearly every one of my 35 years, the holiday has begun with a family breakfast with aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents at our family homestead known as “The Pines” located just outside of Benzonia, overlooking the site of the old Case Mill Pond on Cold Creek.


What’s so great about Independence Day up north?  From morning to night:


Cold dew on your toes

Strong coffee in chipped mugs

Cooking bacon and eggs over a campfire

A cinnamon roll from the Cherry Hut

Taping signs to an old convertible

Decorating a bike or wagon in red white and blue

Driving or riding in the Beulah Parade, trying not to miss anyone you know, or

Watching friends and neighbors from the curb as they roll by, shouting their names when they throw candy.

A dip in Crystal Lake after the parade

Dripping dry in the sun

Pop-its tossed on the sidewalk

Lunch from a cooler, on a boat, at the sandbar

Football in the water

Little ones snoozing with a beach towel for a blanket

Burgers, brats and hot dogs on the grill

Cold beer for the grownups, lemonade for the kids

Lighting the campfire early

Tubing and waterskiing after dinner


Daylight lasts forever

Lighting sparklers while you wait for the fireworks

Watching boats come down the lake to see the show

Singing God Bless America to yourself or out loud

Bright reflections on smooth dark water

Snuggling together with your eyes to the sky

Cheering for the grand finale

Finding out it wasn’t the finale after all

Horns tooting their appreciation

Motors starting, green and red lights on the water as the boats make their way home

Kids sleeping on parents laps

Finding the big dipper

Catching fireflies

Seeing a shooting star

Going to bed sandy, smoky and sunburned, proud to be an American and thankful for all that you have.

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