July 4th is my favorite holiday, but it has nothing to do with patriotism. Don’t get me wrong. I’m as patriotic as the next person.
I’m a Christian, too, but Christmas and Easter aren’t my favorite holidays. I’m grateful, but Thanksgiving isn’t my favorite holiday, and I love wearing my blonde wig and giving out candy to everybody I see on Halloween, but Halloween isn’t my favorite holiday, either.
One reason July 4th is my favorite holiday is because all those other holidays require work.
At Thanksgiving, I roast the biggest turkey I can find and cook an entire Thanksgiving dinner for anywhere from 16 to 20 people. At Christmas I buy and wrap about 40 gifts, cook enough food for Christmas Eve dinner, Christmas breakfast, Christmas dinner, and all the meals in between, and enjoy the company of 16 to 20 family members who descend on our house for several days.
I love it. It’s great. But it’s work!
One Sunday in church the minister said, “There is probably one particular member of your family who coordinates the holidays and makes sure the whole family gets together.”
My granddaughter, who was sitting beside me, tapped my shoulder and whispered, “That would be you.”
But July 4th is a different story. There’s nothing to do except throw some hot dogs on the grill and crack open a beer (or a Coke). I can experience the slow unfurling of a languid day.
I can watch the world’s top professional eaters at Coney Island try to beat Joey Chestnut’s world record. Last year he ate 72 hot dogs in 10 minutes. Gross!
Or I can lounge at the pool, kayak on the lake or read a book.
The point is, I don’t have to do anything.
I’m a summer person. Despite the South’s heat and humidity, a humidity so thick it envelopes you like a woolen sweater until you gasp for air, I love it.
Despite thunderstorms that rumble in with the suddenness of a revelation and send swimmers scattering for cover, I love it.
Kayaking through water that moves like molasses, watching lightning streak from the dark underbelly of a cloud, reading on the back porch while a ceiling fan stirs the sluggish air; I love it all. And at night when the long day has cooled to a dusky twilight, I love seeing fireworks explode in staccato bursts, leaving the air gauzy with smoke.
June 21, the longest day of the year, has already come and gone. When July 4 is over I feel like we’re on the other side of summer, hurtling with a foot off the break toward shorter days and more intense holidays.
But it’s not time yet to embrace anything hurried or ambitious. I’ll enjoy my favorite holiday, drifting through summer days that stretch like a promise and end in blazing sunsets that fade too quickly to sultry nights.
Don't miss a single word. Get Publishous Magazine delivered directly to your inbox each week for FREE!
Please complete the form below and you will receive the next episode directly to the email address you provide.