Knee high by the Fourth of July

5:36 AM

   I grew up in farm country. Cow country, actually. I remember watching from my car window as the corn fields go by and reciting that phrase. For some reason I took it to heart to worry for the farmers and their corn. I would count down the days until the fourth and go out to the field to see if the corn was growing like it was supposed to grow. Sometimes I would even make grown up statements like, "Looks like a good year"  as if I knew what I was talking about when I all knew was that old expression!

    Anyway, I hope the corn is growing right this year without my careful eye to watch it. Today marks the 6th year that I have missed the Fourth of July. The last time I was at a fireworks show to honor my country's birth my little nephews were tiny, little guys and my niece was just 6 years old. Oh, how time flies. I remember my little nephew crying because of the noise, but not wanting to leave because he loved the colored sky. I remember grilling hamburgers and hanging out with a cold beer in my hand. We would talk about my upcoming wedding or my moving to Spain. We talked about my nephew who was sick or the very newest addition to our family who was just five months old then. I was living alone at the time in my tiny studio and working more than full time. It was my last summer that I worked. It was my last summer in the States.

   It is every 6 months that I miss my home the most: on the 4th of July and at Christmas. I feel like those two holidays really mark home.

    Today, in Toulouse, of course there is nothing that reminds me what day it is back home. In just ten days there will be red, white and blue all over to mark the French independence day (they have the same colors in their flag) and then I will again feel a bit nostalgic.

   But on Saturday my family, along with some other Americans or mixed families, will celebrate a small BBQ in honor of our country that we all miss at least a little bit. And we will think about the families back home eating peach ice cream or watermelon or brats (depending on where you are, no?). The only thing missing will be some nice fireworks at the end of the day. And the sparklers. How fun would it be to have sparklers. But, alas, they are illegal in France. All fireworks are. I guess the government thinks us lowly people are too undisciplined to use them correctly. Ay, the States, where you can argue your "right" to do almost anything.....!


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