When someone asks me what my favorite holiday is, my usual go-to answer is Christmas, but I have so many fond memories of the Fourth of July with family and friends, that I often forget how much I enjoy this summertime celebration.
Growing up in Arizona, there was a golf course and country club in the neighborhood next to ours, and they would put on a fireworks show in my early childhood years. I can remember my parents and I parking on the side of the road that overlooked the whole Phoenix valley, which was only a 3 minute drive from our house. We would lay a towel down on the roof of my mom's Ford Explorer and watch countless firework shows that were going on throughout the city. When it was time for the country club to put on their show, we had a front row seat. It was so exciting as a child to see huge fireworks light up right before my eyes, so big and bright, and to hear the thundering crackles during the finale. In those moments, it felt like they were putting the show on just for us in our community; it was so special. Due to the increase of fire hazards in the dry desert, they couldn't continue to do the show at the country club, and slowly but surely, each year firework shows dwindled across the valley. Even though I wouldn't be able to have "my own" firework show anymore, I still held onto those memories, and still do today.
Since we were always trying to find ways to beat the heat in the summer, we would drive to San Diego to visit my aunt and uncle, or sometimes just look after their house while they were away. They lived in Point Loma, which is a small peninsula that juts out across the San Diego bay from Downtown. One year when we were visiting on the Fourth of July, we took a stroll through their neighborhood, which was situated on a very large hill. As we walked down the hill, the entire downtown skyline was laid out before us, and this amazing fireworks show had just started. The other neighbors started to come out of their homes and watch, and before we knew it everyone was in the middle of the street enjoying the show. I will never forget that summer night spent in California.
Each year there's usually large parties and gatherings in each city to celebrate this special holiday, which are great for bringing people together and having a great time. But, I suppose what I love most are the unique, special moments spent with loved ones that create memories to last a lifetime. Whatever you are doing today to celebrate, I hope that you make some very special memories that you can share for years to come. Be safe out there, and have fun!