On July 4th, 1776, one of my ancestors added his signature to the Declaration of Independence. Lyman Hall, a grandson of John the Immigrant (I wrote about him here) was born in Wallingford, Connecticut, but as an adult he moved to Georgia and became a Congressman. Celebrating Independence Day took on more meaning for me because someone in my family had played a part in its making.
For the past few years we’ve celebrated the Fourth of July in Portland, Oregon at our daughter’s house, where her very careful husband sets off a modest, but still impressive, display of fireworks at the end of the driveway, followed by sparkler waving in the wet grass of the back yard.
When I was growing up we had picnics at the farm. Mostly I remember quiet feasts outside in the yard.
But one year in the 1950’s, someone in the family brought to the farm a car load of fireworks. After the day’s celebrations, when dusk turned the night sky a deep blue, we rode in cars and pickup trucks down the lane toward the cow pond and up the hill to the field with the lone tree. On blankets spread over the stubble of mown hay we waited for the men to start the show. One minute we were sitting in the dark, and the next the sky lit up with one burst after another. Under the “rockets’ red glare” we shared together a magical evening marking the birthdate of our country.
Happy Birthday America!
On Monday: The Back Staircase