I was born on the 4th of July. Being born a firecracker has its advantages. First, I get the day off of work just for my birthday. And as an added bonus, most of you get the day off, too. Secondly, it's just cool to be born on America's birthday. Third and most importantly, I get a dollar for my birthday. My dear Aunt Grace who will be celebrating her 81st birthday also on July 4th has mailed to me a one dollar bill tucked inside a birthday card for my birthday every year since I can remember. Close to my birthday, my family knows they better not get the mail from the box. In fact, they won't even go near it for fear of the pathway to it being booby-trapped. I want to open the mailbox which is equal to ripping the wrapping paper off of my gift. It's been that way for soon-to-be 45 years. Although I love all of my gifts and cards that I receive, the birthday dollar is very sentimental to me. It's something only my Aunt Grace and I can understand.
Five years ago my Aunt Mimi learned that her sister (Aunt Grace) was sending me a birthday dollar each year. She decided to get in on the action also by sending me a five dollar bill tucked inside my birthday card through the mail. She writes a note on the inside, "Ice cream money". So I take the money and head to town to get me an ice cream. After all, she is buying. It has also become one of my most favorite sentiments.
As a kid I remember when Warner Robins used to have a 4th of July celebration with old fashioned games such as the "greased pig contest" where you had to get inside of a pen and try and catch a pig that was all greased up. The pen was filled with mud and lots of it so when the contestant would run around chasing the pig, they would be slipping and sliding and covered in mud. I do declare that they stayed with their face in the mud more than on their feet. Onlookers would be laughing hysterically from the sidelines. There was also the "greased flag pole contest" where participants would try and climb a flag pole that had been laden with Crisco. I don't ever remember seeing anyone reach the top. I miss those days of simpler, less busy times.
I enjoy watching the Andy Griffith Show because for 30 minutes each day I get to go back to small town parades, no busy schedules to keep, quiet evenings sitting on the front porch, fishing from the bank with a cane pole, picnics by the lake, being a kid walking barefoot on a dirt road without the fear of being kidnapped and old fashioned 4th of July celebrations. Indeed, those were the days.
Whether you celebrate your 4th this year with a picnic basket or on the patio at the grill, I leave you with my thoughts:
Freedom is not free, so...
Because a price has been paid.
Donna Hunter Glenn is a weekly columnist for the Houston Home Journal and Warner Robins Times Newspapers and is the principal decorator and owner of Addressing Rooms Interior Decorating and Home Staging in Warner Robins, GA.