July 4 traditions abound, but forget the beans | Kpcnews

It is Thursday night, and I pack up the cooler, pick up Mary and head over to Pokagon State Park for the yearly event, the Fort Wayne Philharmonic at the Park. The day is hot, and my air conditioner does not work well, but I do have windows to roll down so all is well.

I stop to take a photo at the welcoming “may-I-see-your-pass booth” since no one is behind me. By the time I get out and take the photo, cars are all lined up. No one honked at me , which is good! Parking is at a premium, but I find a great spot!

Mary and I haul our gear down and find a great shady spot within a view of the tent and the water and all the folks around us. The breeze picks up, and I could almost say it was a bit chilly? Almost.

The best thing about this event is that everyone attending is happy. Some are decked out in their 4th of July finest! I have new earrings thanks to a lovely young lady in town, Mia, who not only made them, but delivered them to my door!

The tradition of music in the park goes back a long way, and I have missed only a few in my life. As I sit and watch and listen, I really am overwhelmed by… well, you know, everything. The music is spectacular, The crowd shows much appreciation by clapping and boat horn honking; although the purple martins try to steal the show by giving us a flight and dive demonstration. Folks laughed as these birds came close enough to try and steal a cookie or a crumb!

The 4th of July has always been a holiday right up there with my birthday or Thanksgiving. I love it so much. Maybe we need it more than ever as, no matter what opinion you share of a number of pressing issues, we can come together listen to music, eat watermelon and ooh and ahh over fireworks. As it should be. As it should be.

As a kid I loved it so much. There was, of course, the cookout and then we all walked to McMillan park for the fireworks.

My dad filled our heads with trivia in those days. Did we really care about trivia? I think not, but he tried. As a mom out on the farm, I always (no, really, I did) made bean hole beans. I soaked the navy beans all night, dug a hole in the ground in the morning, built a fire in that hole and stuck in the pot of beans to cook until our picnic. Of course, I added all the ingredients to make great beans: bacon , ketchup, onions and some secret ingredients! You are probably thinking how wonderful they must be, but you are very wrong. They were awful. Every year they were awful; yet I continued to make them. Maybe I thought just once they would turn out, but I was very wrong about that!

Moving on to my purple house, traditions changed a bit. (I do not make bean hole beans!) I celebrate the 4th of July at Aaron and Rachel’s house. We watch the parade from their front lawn and visit with all the folks that come We picnic in their yard, play corn hole and watch the kids run and tumble around in the heat of the afternoon. Everyone heads over to the park early to spread out blankets and get settled for the show! When Faith and Noah were little, Kathy and I stayed here at the purple house to take care of them while everyone went to the show. If I put my chair in the street, I have a great view!

There were, of course, all those great 4th of Julys on Ocracoke when I did really believe home was an island. There were, of course, the parades of which my group always won a prize and fireworks watching from Rob Temple’s boat, The Windfall . Those were lovely days celebrating on an island, and I loved it.

But the fields of Indiana called me back home. This year the weather is stunning. I am home, the watermelon awaits in the fridge for a seed spitting contest, and I have red, white and blue earrings to wear. Oh, as for bean hole beans? I haven’t quite decided whether to try it again.

Be safe. Be kind. Happy 4th of July!

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