My Favorite 4th of July memory

Services for Real Estate Pros with Marte Cliff Copywriting

About a dozen years ago I was operating a real estate agency in our small town of Priest River, Idaho and I was bothered by the fact that the 4th of July celebration I remembered from childhood had somehow fallen by the wayside.

So I went to a Chamber of Commerce meeting and suggested that it might be time to bring it back. They said "Sure, go ahead and do it."

OK then - was anyone going to help? Heck no!The American Flag

So I started out on my own to find out where to buy the fireworks, who could legally fire them off, etc. A fireman could do it, but none were willing. Finally I found a company who does nothing but fireworks displays and they did have one crew left who could do our event. It would cost at minimum $2,500.

I should have just worked at getting one more closing and paying for the thing myself. But no - I started trying to collect funds from the community. And I was terrible at it! I felt like I was asking for money for myself rather than for the community... and I'm not good at "gimmie." I don't even like to remind clients of a past due invoice for services rendered.

Lucky for me, I made the acquaintance of two young women who had the time, the desire, and the nerve to go get the money. They raised $3,500 and we were able to make the show just a little bit bigger.

Meanwhile, I was writing news articles and telling people to come to the event. And everyone I met said they hadn't read the articles, and didn't know it was going to happen. I was afraid the only ones there would be me and the two ladies!

Finally the big  night arrived and I was running around crazy, coordinating with the shooters, the musicians, the firemen, the ambulance people, and the man who would turn the lights off at the appropriate time. I saw people drifting into the park, but the crowd didn't seem very big.

Then, just before it was time for the show to start, I went out to the parking lot to get something from the car. I was headed back when the first shot went into the air, and so was a little boy of about 8.

I'll never forget that moment, because that little boy made all my work worthwhile.

He threw his arms in the air and shouted to the sky "Happy Birthday America!"

I still get misty when I think of him. And I still wish I knew who he was so I could tell him what that impulsive action on his part meant to me.

And as for the attendance...

When the show was over and the park lights came back on, I was amazed. The park was FULL. And then I looked across the river and saw car lights coming on ... the huge parking lot at the sawmill was full and both sides of the road were lined with cars.

My little town really did care about "Happy Birthday America!"

While I handed over the reins to the project a few years ago, it is still going on... and I fully intend to drive to town on Sunday night to watch the show.



Re-Blogged 1 time:

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  1. Erica Ramus 07/04/2010 07:11 AM
Real Estate General Information
Idaho Bonner County Priest River
Law of Attraction for the REALTOR!
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Cosmic Cow Pie...The Rome Way
4th of july
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Rosalind Nicholas
RE/MAX Condos Plus Corporation, Brokerage - Toronto, ON
Toronto Condo Real Estate Agent, Toronto ON

Happy Birthday America!

Thanks for sharing Marte.

Although, I live in Canada now, and Celebrate Canada day. I knew about July 4th as a kid, a few decades ago, while growing up in South East Asia.  

Jul 04, 2010 03:48 AM #26
Richard Strahm
American Foursquare Realty - Lansdale, PA
Lansdale and North Penn Real Estate

What a beautiful story!  It's people like you that in small and big ways make our country so great.

Jul 04, 2010 04:19 AM #27
John Howard
Century 21 LeMac Realty - Mountain Home, AR
GRI, Mountain Home, Arkansas 870-404-3614

Marte,  Happy Birthday America!  Great Post.  Thank You for reviving your communities tradition.

Jul 04, 2010 04:42 AM #28
Richard Weisser
Richard Weisser Realty - Newnan, GA
Richard Weisser Retired Real Estate Professional


Wow, you changed your town for the better. You should be very proud of all of the happiness you provided with your birthday celebrations for America!

Jul 04, 2010 05:16 AM #29
Claire Record
Keller Williams Realty--Boerne Hill Country - Boerne, TX

Wow, Marte...that's incredible.  You must have been so proud to make such an impact.  Thank you for taking the time to bring back something that the town lost.  We need more people like you to bring the simpler things in life. 

Jul 04, 2010 05:18 AM #30
Erik Elsea
Erik Elsea-Jones & Co. Realty - Fort Myers, FL

What a wonderful story. Thank you for sharing and Happy Birthday America!!!

Jul 04, 2010 05:20 AM #31
Ted Tyndall
Davidson Realty Inc. - Saint Augustine, FL
I will help You find the Home YOU want to Buy

Marte, that is a great story. Thanks for sharing.

Jul 04, 2010 05:38 AM #32
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Wow - thanks everyone. I sure never expected my little memory to become a feature!

I really can't take credit for the way that day turned out. If I hadn't found those two ladies with the determination and guts to raise the money it never would have happened. So - I thank Liz and Rose for the memory.

I'm wishing a happy day for everyone - and a special thanks to all our military men and women - past and present - who ensure that we can keep on celebrating our Independence.

We owe them for our freedom to celebrate as we choose today.

Jul 04, 2010 05:51 AM #33
Patricia Aulson
Realtor - Portsmouth NH Homes-Hampton NH Homes

Enjoy your holiday.  Thank you for getting this out to us today.

Patricia/Seacoast NH

Jul 04, 2010 07:07 AM #34
Ralph Gorgoglione
Maui Life Homes / Metro Life Homes - Kihei, HI
Hawaii and California Real Estate (310) 497-9407

Very cool story.

Thanks for the post.

Have a great 4th!

Jul 04, 2010 07:19 AM #36
Cynthia Larsen
Cotati, CA
Independent Broker In Sonoma County, CA

What a wonderful memory!  Thanks for sharing and have a great 4th of July.

Jul 04, 2010 07:31 AM #37
Michelle Francis
Tim Francis Realty LLC - Atlanta, GA
Realtor, Buckhead Atlanta Homes for Sale & Lease


Way to go in making good things happen!

All the best, Michelle

Jul 04, 2010 07:38 AM #38
Aaron Vaughn, REALTOR© 512-845-4204
eXp Realty - Canyon Lake, TX
My knowledge is your power | eXp Realty

Hello: I think my greatest 4th memory was the fireworks accident I had as a kid. Blew 3 fingers off, and nobody was around to help, so I had to use strands of my mullet hair to sew them back on.

Wait, that may have been a dream about an 80s movie I wanted to make. I am so old now, I can't be sure.

Happy 4th!


Jul 04, 2010 08:06 AM #39
Dawn Maloney
RE/MAX Trinity Northeast Ohio Real Estate Specialist - Hudson, OH
330-990-4236 Hudson & Northeastern Ohio

Marte, it is so wonderful to see your heart come through in this post!

Happy Birthday America INDEED!!!

Jul 04, 2010 08:17 AM #40
Kate McQueen
CB&A Realtors - Cypress, TX
Tailored service for your real estate needs!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMERICA!  Awesome memory, and thank you for sharing it.  I have tears in my eyes!

Jul 04, 2010 12:01 PM #41
Maria Morton
Platinum Realty - Kansas City, MO
Kansas City Real Estate 816-560-3758

Marte, that is a beautiful story! Happy Birthday America! Enjoy the fireworks!

Jul 04, 2010 02:46 PM #42
Lane Bailey
Century 21 Results Realty - Suwanee, GA
Realtor & Car Guy

I will never forget the 4th of July celebrations in Onaway, MI.  We had a cottage there and were there each year when I was a kid.  The parades and fireworks were always pure to me...  I miss that. 

Jul 04, 2010 04:26 PM #43
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Thanks all! I just got home from watching the fireworks... with my kid, even. It was a pleasant surprise when he called this evening to say he'd meet me in town and go along.I thought he'd be out with friends, but he chose his old ma instead. Lucky me!

I feel sorry for the dogs and cats who are terrified by the noise, but I love hearing those big booms when they echo down the river almost as much as I love the lights in the sky.

The gods were smiling on the event - pouring rain here at home, but no rain for the fireworks.

Jul 04, 2010 07:42 PM #44
Cheryl Ritchie
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Huntingtown, MD
Southern Maryland 301-980-7566

My Mom crusaded to keep the local turtle races for the community event this year. She made homemade signs and door knocked. Imagaine her pleasure when six dozen neighbors showed up to watch the turtles race this weekend. That was a big part of the community right on her doorsteps!

Jul 04, 2010 08:24 PM #45
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Good for your Mom!

When we want something to happen, sometimes we just have to do it ourselves. I'm glad she had a good turn-out. Maybe next year the crusade will be easier.

You sure have an armful of gold there!

Jul 04, 2010 08:58 PM #46
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