Patriotic Medley #Monday Musical Memory

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

As you read this, I’m returning from a wonderful vacation with my brother and his family in Florida. The Fourth of July is coming up, and I’m thinking back to how my family spent the holiday when I was growing up.

When we lived in Tucson, Arizona, we often attended fireworks displays at the local university. Although my vision was limited, I enjoyed watching the pyrotechnics show in the sky. I might have been scared at first of the booms and bangs, but I most remember gazing in fascination at the explosions of color and shapes. One year, I could even see them from our front lawn.

We moved here to Sheridan, Wyoming, when I was twelve. At the time, there were no public displays, so we bought our own fireworks. These consisted mostly of sparklers, pop bottle rockets, and Roman candles. They weren’t as elaborate as the colorful displays we saw in Tucson. So, for me, they weren’t as fun.

One year when I was in high school, Dad was kneeling in the middle of the street, about to light one, when a car slowly approached. Thinking it was a police car, we held our breath, since fireworks were illegal in town. Then, to our relief, we realized it was Grandma, who was always a slow driver.

After I became a registered music therapist and started working in a nursing home, Dad acquired an Irish setter who was born on the Fourth of July. Her original owner had named her Old Glory, but Dad changed that to  Maud, after William Butler Yeats’ mistress. Fireworks must have been shot off at Maud’s birth because she was fearful of booms and bangs. After she came along, no more fireworks were shot off in our family.

You can now click the link below to hear me sing a medley of familiar patriotic songs. This may inspire you to shoot off some fireworks of your own. If so, please enjoy them responsibly.

 

Patriotic Medley

 

What do you remember about the Fourth of July when you were growing up? Did you shoot your own fireworks or attend a display? Did your family traditionally have a picnic? What did you eat? Have a happy and safe Fourth of July!

 

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My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

How to Build a better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

We Shall Overcome

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Holiday Hardship

The Fourth of July is just around the corner, and like other holidays, it’s not something I look forward to, especially with no close relatives. I’ll probably eat lunch at the senior center. They’re having barbecued pork sandwiches which sounds pretty good. I may run into my former high school English teacher who eats there every day. She was one of those teachers who inspired me to read, and although she’s elderly and forgetful, I still enjoy eating lunch with her.

I remember great times we had on the Fourth of July when I was a kid. In Tucson, Arizona, we attended fireworks displays. At first, I covered my ears to shut out the loud bangs, but with my limited vision, I watched, fascinated, as colorful shapes exploded in the night sky. When we moved to Sheridan, Wyoming, there were no public displays so we bought our own fireworks and shot them off at home, although it was illegal. One time, Dad was kneeling in the middle of the street, about to light one, when we spotted a car coming slowly towards him the way police cars did when patrolling the neighborhood. We stood with baited breath, wondering if we would spend the rest of the holiday behind bars, but as the vehicle pulled to the curb in front of our house, we realized it was Grandma. We were never more glad to see her than at that time.

The following from That’s Life: New and Selected Poems, compares how sad holidays can be without close family to how difficult they can be when all the relatives congregate at my house to celebrate. It talks more about Thanksgiving and Christmas, but the concept is the same for all holidays.

HOLIDAY HARDSHIP

 

Thanksgiving is coming.

Already, a friend far away

asks if I have plans.

I’ll spend Christmas

in the tropics with my brother,

but Thanksgiving’s up in the air

with no husband, father, mother.

Other relatives have plans.

 

At least I don’t have to clean the house,

shop, prepare food for twelve people,

pick up after everyone,

deal with leftovers

while men watch football,

women fail to be helpful,

children run around,

scream, argue, cry.

It’s not the same.

What do you remember about the Fourth of July when you were growing up?

Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author of We Shall Overcome and How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver and That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

 

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