We were supposed to go to the lake to be with Dave's relatives, but a variety of things kept us from going. Instead, we ended up here at home, and I'm so very, very thankful that we did. As most of you know by now, we are grandparents by love to the little next door neighbor boy named Gideon (yes, he is a little boy now, no longer a baby) and he sees us as such. Several times a week we are with him, and we are much richer for it.
Anyway, Jen and Shon (his parents), Dave, and I spent the 4th together. It was a hot day, so we ended up in the pool. How Gideon loves to splash! His happy, rich belly laugh filled the backyard and all of us were held under his spell of toddler magic as he kicked and laughed and splashed and played. That boy is a child of the water. Grandma is so glad!
Then we parted ways to eat and get ready for the evening. We were going to see if Gideon would stay up long enough to watch a fireworks show. We got to the Oakdale MN event at about 9pm and The Rockin' Hollywoods were playing 60's music and other hits. It drew a good crowd, but it was a far different crowd than one finds at the larger get-togethers.
This crowd was about family, about having a good, peaceful time, and about respecting others. No one was drunk. No one was looking for a fight. No one was posturing or trying to pick up a one night stand. Most people had children and everyone smiled at each other. It didn't matter your age, race, or gender. It was a truly a beautiful thing. We also noticed that the food was reasonably priced, so that families could actually afford to eat there. Burgers? $3. Hot dog? $2 Beer? $3 There was a wide variety of foods and none would break the budget.
Gideon ran, played, got a star wand that lit up and thrilled him, danced with Grandma. At 10 o'clock we settled on the blanket to watch the fireworks. Gideon looked over at Grandpa and declared that he wanted to sit by him. At not quite 23 months, this kid can TALK. He uses all kinds of words most two-year-olds don't pronounce yet and some sentences. So, over to Grandpa he went, where he sat without moving for about a half hour. He leaned back against Dave's chest and crossed his little arms behind his head and grooved on the first fireworks show of his young life.
He wasn't scared. In fact, he clapped at times, named colors, and after each one would exclaim "Uhm, Uhm. He sounded like an old southern nanny! I told him the Grand Finale was coming up and he started yelling "Finale!" When it happened he was starstruck. Afterward, he yelled out, "Again!"
Here's the deal: Before the fireworks had even started, Jen looked at me and said it was the best 4th of July in her life. Funny thing was, I had just been gazing at the four of them and thinking that it was one of those moments in time that I would look back on as perfect, a snapshot I would treasure always. When I die, I hope that day is something I get to remember before I go.
Five regular people, 3 different generations, all feeling healthy, happy, and nothing happened to irritate any of us or take the shine off the day. It was like a blanket of fairy dust and had been sprinkled on us and the universe had said: "This. This is why you come here."
I couldn't agree more. And If I never have another day this perfect again, I will be forever grateful that I had this one. This one, my friends, was one in a billion. This one I wouldn't trade for all the money or fame in the world. This one was just for us five.
Caddy Rowland is a novelist and painter. Her social media links follow.
To find out about her novels (including The Gastien Series, a story that begins with a bohemian artist in France) visit http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005FW8BZE
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