By Lorie Ham
Many Americans have favorite memories of the Fourth of July, as well as special family traditions. For some, it’s going to the local fireworks show, watching a parade, or a special family meal and setting off fireworks at home.
“As a kid, we would always go to my Grandma’s house in Reedley for dinner,” shares Mennonite Insurance employee Stephanie Heier. “Then we would go to Reedley High to watch the fireworks show. I loved going to the fireworks show with all my cousins.
“As an adult, we try to get together with family. We BBQ, swim, and then when it gets dark we drive out to watch the aerial show at Wild Water Adventure. Then we go home and light our own fireworks.”
When I was a kid, we would sit in my grandparent’s backyard, eat homemade ice cream, and watch the Reedley city fireworks. Over time, the trees got too tall so we started finding places to park in town where we could see the fireworks.
Mennonite Aid Plan Board of Directors member Larry Miller also has memories of eating homemade ice cream on the Fourth of July while watching the Reedley city fireworks from his parent’s yard. However, his most memorable Fourth of July was in 1965, and that one was life altering. “As my family was leaving Church that Sunday, a young lady I had never seen before approached and asked if I was Larry Miller. I told her I was; she brought greetings from a cousin of mine in Oklahoma. She had come to Reedley for a summer fruit packing job.”
Before the day was over, Larry asked the young lady, whose name was Jamie, out for a date the next evening, July 5, to go to the community fireworks display at Reedley High School. Since the fourth fell on a Sunday that year, the event was held Monday evening. “When we arrived the stadium was mostly full,” continues Larry. “Jamie spotted an open space so we climbed the bleachers and took that space, only to find my parents and siblings were seated right behind us! The whole family for chaperones! The next two months passed quickly and we said good-bye as each of us went back to school. However, the story does not end there, two years later we were married in her home Church in Clinton, Oklahoma.”
If you are looking for ways to make your own Fourth of July memories and traditions, a great place to start is with food. You can find more than 60 BBQ recipes for your July Fourth celebrations in this article on the Country Living website, and even more recipes for the holiday on AllRecipes.com. And don’t forget the homemade ice cream! If watching a fireworks show is part of your celebration, you can find a list of some of the best City fireworks across the country in this recent article from Parade and a listing of some of the ones happening in CA here.
What is your favorite Fourth of July memory or tradition? Maybe it wasn’t life changing like Larry Miller’s, but every memory is special. We would love to have you share yours with us on our Facebook page. Have a great Fourth of July!