4th of July Traditions

Here is how it goes every year.
We start in my hometown and watch a parade that looks the same every year.
This year I chatted with Fawn and Chelsea (Chelsea introduced me to my husband way back when.) and also Juliann.
Juliann and I were best friends during our middle school years.
She was a girl that could make any thing seem fun.
She was smart, creative and talented and one of the funniest people I know.
It has probably been a decade since I last saw her - maybe even closer to two decades.
I kept fighting the urge to apologize to her dad who was standing close by.
I'm sure his blood pressure skyrocketed a few times on our accounts.
We were always up to something - always.
So I'll say it now, "Sorry Joe."

Then we eat lunch and meet my family at a park in an even smaller town than the small town we start in.
The next town is one with about 600 people living there.
The afternoon is filled with races, egg tosses, water balloon throws, watermelon eating contests, and tug of wars.
For the past couple of years Finley (Stafford's daughter) and I have paired up for the Mother Daughter Race.
This year Tayia (Paul's daughter) joined us.
We did pretty well.
Next year I'm going to email them training plans for the 8 weeks prior to the race.
On race day I think we will warm up with high knees and stretching.
That just might be what we need to take home the 50 cent piece you get if you win.
Win at all cost girls!
(There were two heats in the father and sons races.  Glenn ran the first one with Porter and the second with Warrick and won both, but I didn't take any pictures because I was focused on myself at that point. :)

Now to the water melon eating contest.
Check out Jade (4) who is next to Stafford.  
She usually places quite well in the watermelon contest.  
You can see her focus. 
She looks like she's going to puke,
but keeps going anyway.
That is the attitude of a champion.
Go Jade!

When the fun is done there, 
we move over to my sister-in-laws parents' house.
It is a darling farm house with a wrap around porch
and shade from trees that are older than me.
(I always wonder the stories old trees could tell if they could talk.  I'm sure they have heard many a story and seen many interesting encounters.)
Cherie's dad, Paul cooks us hamburgers and hot dogs
that go so well with Cherie's frog eyed salad and Janie's potato salad.
This year we had a guest show up that stole the show.
Meet a wandering dog named "Mary".
Christian named it.
I told him he had to change the name since someone at that party was named Mary.
At first the kids tried to get it to leave and then they started feeding it.
Then we head south to my brother Paul's house.
Another surprise event happened this year.
Just as we were getting set up for the "Street of Fire",
there was a huge downpour.
Just as it was getting dark it stopped raining and the explosions began.


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