Happy Declaration of Independence to the World!

4 Jul


When we were kids, my siblings, cousins and I, the 4th of July meant the yearly pilgrimage to Beverly Farms up on the North Shore above Boston to the McMichael cousins house.

We’d arrive before noon to check out the races and games down on West Beach. We too were racers… racing in and out of the cold Atlantic surf, wandering up and down the beach, under the pier to check out the barnacles,

and gather like a chatty flock of sea gulls on the warm sand.

We would all eventually make it back for the early afternoon cookout with enormous amounts of food as every family then as now brought along enough for an army of Irish and otherwise to eat up.

The rest of the afternoon was whiled away with games like badminton, crochet, whiffle ball, hide and seek and of course many of us brought our baseball gloves to play catch with anyone and everyone… we were a baseball family, especially in the summer. We were just waiting for dusk.

There would be chains of us cousins holding hands, winding our way through the crowds to claim our little piece of sand to watch the serious fireworks about to happen as soon as it was full dark.

The harbor was filled with small boats. (a small harbor compared to what I remember) Their running lights were on and fingers ready on their horns.

The fireworks were shot off that long pier in the harbor and as many firework displays I’ve seen over the years, there have been none better.

And Fireworks music it was! You could hear the ooohs and aaaahs from the crowd on the beach but especially the horns and lights of the boats in harbor.

Spending July 4th with my family as a child is one of the reasons I bought our house in Pittsfield in Berkshire County, way Western Mass, because I could see the fireworks from Wahconha Park from the house. We live just above one of the oldest minor league baseball parks in the country…1914 or so.

I really am 11 inside and fireworks in some way honor that part of me that is 11. So does my favorite movie “THE WIZARD OF OZ” but that’s another story completely.

Something that has been part of my “bucket list” for a very long time is flying above the USA on the 4th of July. I mean how cool would that be… to see our country’s celebration from high above.  Two summers ago, I got my wish. Elizabeth and I left Logan Airport in Boston at 9 PM on July 3rd flying to Finland with a stopover in Iceland.

We hadn’t left the runway yet when the displays started all around us. The plane took off for Iceland and we followed the fireworks all the way up the coast thru Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine.

The fireworks got smaller and smaller as we headed up higher but still discernible. It was one of the most amazing sights I’ve ever seen… I still get goosebumps and Elizabeth is still convinced it happened that way ’cause I’m Irish! For whatever reason, it’s a sight I will never forget as long as I live!

Happy Birthday, America… Happy Birthday to our Declaration of Independence and a new way of looking at things…



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