Sunday, July 4, 2010

Personal Traditions: How My Family Celebrates July 4

I've been blogging since late 2004 and taking and posting digital photos since early 2005. So I have about a half-decade of documenting my life now on-line. This morning, I thought I'd take a look at how we -- the Lovely Karen and I and our girls -- celebrate the Fourth of July.

Most years, we spend the Fourth with elements of my family at my folks' place in North Bethany. We often attend the Bethany Beach July 4 Parade, we always lounge on the beach, eat great food and watch Bethany's fireworks show from the beach north of town.

Squirt The Crowd2005
This was the first full year of my flickr/blogger obsession and the July Fourth celebration was just the sort of material I needed. I wrote a longish post about it that simply detailed what is our usual approach:
We spent the fourth with my folks, one of my brothers, and some family friends at Bethany Beach. We went to the Bethany Beach Fourth of July Parade, where I took a mess of photos. We spent the afternoon on the beach at North Bethany. We had a traditional meal of Burgers and Dogs, and eventually went down to the beach to watch the fireworks.
Don Leads Them Out2006
Our 2006 Fourth was much the same. We always enjoy the Nur Temple Little-Car Shriners who turn parts of the Bethany Parade into a little Daytona .500. Later, the weather gave us some headaches:
... we waited for the sun to set and the Bethany fireworks to start. Unfortunately, a large thunderstorm rolled in and put paid to the fireworks show. So we sat and watched lightning from the living room.
one lane2007
We broke tradition somewhat in 2007. Daughter #1 was finishing a lacrosse camp in Westminster, Maryland on July 4 so I spent the day driving out to pick her up and we joined the family for dinner later in North Bethany.

The Fourth was a Saturday that year so I spent the Friday night, after work, in a hotel partway between work and Westminster and finished the trip in the morning. I had stopped in northern New Castle County after work for a partial round of golf with my friend Sandy. The drive out to Westminster took me through some places I had not been before, including a lovely ride through Gunpowder Falls State Park.

We were back to our normal Fourth of July activities in 2008. The parade included lots of politicians. And, oddly, Santa Claus.

We had a primary for the Democratic nomination for Governor that year and I was torn, since both John Carney, then the Lt. Governor, and Jack Markell, then State Treasurer, are great guys. I could cheerfully have supported either of them.

Ultimately, Jack Markell took the nomination and won the Governorship. He's been doing a great job, I think. John Carney is now running for Congress, where he would be a real asset.

constituent relations2009
The parade was on July 3 in 2009. There were somewhat fewer politicians in the parade, because the elections were over. But this parade is a regular stop for some of our leading elected folks. Tom Carper, now our Senator, is one. I got a sweet shot of him greeting a young constituent.

Since the parade was not on the fourth, Andy and I had a chance to play golf on the morning of the fourth. We played Ocean Resorts, outside of Ocean City. We were back on the beach with our families for an afternoon of sun, dinner, and fireworks.

Somewhere in the last few years, we've added Andy and Lynne and their girls to our Fourth of July gatherings. They fit right in and add a new dimension to the holiday.

Dessert for the 4th of july2010
This year Andy and I played our golf on the Third. And we included daughter #1's young man, who is visiting from out of state. He's a fine golfer and a good kid. He passed the test of golf-with-the-girlfriend's-dad with flying colors. Not that it was really a test; I just wanted to play some golf.

We're headed out to North Bethany for beach/burgers/fireworks soon. The parade will be tomorrow, for some reason, so I'm not sure if we'll see that this year.

Meanwhile, daughter #1 is starting a new tradition by crafting festive desserts for the family gathering. Among them is this Fourth of July tart which she photographed for me with her cellphone.

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