Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy 4th of July!

Today we celebrate 230 years of American Independence. I hope you all have something wonderful planned.

Back when I was a kid, living in San Diego, the "big thing" for any given summertime get-together, was to go down to Mission Bay Park or to Mission Beach.

The day would start out early by packing up a picnic feast and the hibachi grills. The first to arrive would save as many parking spaces as we needed.

Then the kids would all strip down to swimsuits and play in the water while the poor adults schlepped back and forth getting coolers, beach chairs, umbrellas and all the other acoutrements of a day at the beach set up.

Soon, the salt tang of the air would be enhanced by chicken, steak kebabs, burgers and hotdogs doing their thing on the little hibachi grills.

By 11:30, we kids would be starving and would begin pestering our parents for a snack. Doritos and beandip was a favorite, along with all the Shasta black cherry soda and rootbeer we could drink.

Come lunchtime, our hunger sated for the most part, we kids would nibble at a chicken leg, eat a few bites of potato salad and usually drop at least one hotdog in the sand before we were ready to hit the water once more.

Mom knew, of course, that going swimming right after eating would cause stomach cramps that would likely paralyze us to the point of drowning, so we were relegated to spending an hour on the beach looking for sand crabs, attempting (usually in vain) to pry limpets off the rocks and chasing seagulls.

By evening, exhausted from all that hard playing, someone would build a bonfire in the fire ring so thoughtfully provided by the city, and we'd roast marshmallows while we relaxed.

Sometimes, we were lucky enough to spend July 4th there and we'd be treated to the spectacle of fireworks bursting in the air over San Diego Bay, with the Navy ships silhouetted by the bright light from each exploding rocket.

After the Grand Finale, we'd begin packing up and we kids would chatter excitedly about which particular part of the fireworks we liked best.