July 4th and Things That Matter

I can still remember growing up in New Jersey surrounded with family & friends in celebration for the 4th of July. We'd have the quintessential barbecue with hamburgers and hot dogs, and chicken, baked beans, potato salad and an Italian tossed salad. The neighborhood kids and I would be splashing around in the pool and jumping off the above ground pool deck my father built (sshhh - the garage roof too, but don't tell my mother). We'd play wiffle ball & badminton in the yard, as well as volleyball in the pool, and eating all that food at a traditional-styled picnic table. Later in the day, us kids would churn ice, milk, vanilla and sugar into ice cream and shoot hoops in the park across the street.

At dusk, my dad loved to put on his own little fireworks display: Roman candles in the street, bottle rockets in the yard, firecrackers in an old fashion milk can, and lighting the sparklers for us kids to twirl around with. He'd light everything with his cigarette, and one year (funny story - but not) while my dad was lighting cherry bombs with his cigarette, he mistakenly put his cigarette in the bag of cherry bombs and the lit cherry bomb in his mouth... All the gibberish that followed after he spit out the cherry bomb was so foreign to me (Spanish cursing lol) Thankfully, nothing bad happened, but I always remember that day.

If we weren't hosting the neighborhood July 4th barbecue, we would drive down the shore, to Cape May or Wildwood for a Summer vacation. In Florida, we'd go to a pool party across the street at Kay & Doug's or spend the day at Crandon Beach or Bill Bags State Park (beach) on Biscayne Bay. Those days are all long gone - but I still recall them like it was yesterday... And I'm so grateful for the fond memories of growing up with good times, good friends, and family.

In between the pool parties, barbeque's, and Instagrams this July 4th, take a moment to just stop - really look around at who is with you, stop and take in how the food really tastes, and how the air smells of the beach, pool chlorine, or even the after-burn of the fireworks - because at the end of the day, or in later years to come, those memories are going to mean more than any "Like" on a Facebook post - and trust me: you'll forget the retweet of your Instagram, but the things that matter are the moments you capture with your mind and your heart.

Have a happy, fun, and safe July 4th!



  1. Hi Lynda, a beautifully written post - so true, when we're all grown up, the things we remember the most are the kindness, the love, the memories, the happiness of being in a well loved family. How fortunate you are to have had that. Many people don't. Happy 4th of July!

  2. I am a bit late to comment but I too have such fond memories of July 4th with my parents and for 8 years now I have transported my kiddos (now big)to a wonderful lake house in Levona GA to send the 4th with family and it is a blast. No worries of drinking too much wine since we are all there for a weeks stay and enjoy jet skiing and boat riding compliments of my wonderful sister in law.



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