The 4th of July has always been a special holiday for me. Sadly, this year the celebration will be very muted because of the COVID-19 virus.
My son, who lives near Ogden, Utah, informed me there would not be a parade or fireworks in their hometown this year. We traveled there for the past two years to enjoy the event with the family. Our great-grandkids joyfully gather candy thrown from the parade floats that flow past in front of them.
The family has a special place along the parade route they reserve the night before by placing chairs and blankets in the area to reserve their spot. Hundreds of others do the same. It’s quite a sight and surprise because, in most areas where I’ve lived, someone would quickly steel the blankets and chairs. Maybe it’s a Utah thing because several other cities in the area do the same along their parade routes.
After the parade, the family moves to a nearby park for an afternoon picnic and games until the nearby fireworks begin. Last year, the park became a swamp after heavy afternoon rains. We raced to the park and gathered up the soggy blankets that we laid out earlier to save our spot. We did see some fireworks but from afar.
July 4th has been exceptional for my wife and I because it was on that holiday weekend she finally decided I might be worth keeping. We had been dating, but not seriously. I charmed her enough at a company outing on a nearby lake that we began our relationship more seriously, and the fireworks between us were ignited.
I proposed to her several years later in July, and she wanted to get married in July. However, there was a big event that year in Atlanta, the 1996 Olympics. I convinced her that wouldn’t be a good time because it would be difficult for our many family members would be coming from California and Utah. So, we settled on mid-April when the Atlanta area is at its most beautiful.
I should have looked at the calendar more closely, however. The weekend I chose was also the same as the Masters golf tournament. That’s a tournament I never like to miss on TV. Now, we have to negotiate our wedding anniversary around Sunday’s final round.
I’ve celebrated the holiday in five different states. As a motorsports P.R. rep, I was in Daytona, Fla. for the race that weekend. Back then, they held a race that began at midnight on July 3rd, called the Paul Revere 250. After the race, there were fireworks, of course.
After that race, I flew to Hartford, Conn. for another race at Lime Rock that day. And, they had fireworks there that night.
One year, while living in the mountains above San Bernardino, Calif., I thought it would be a great idea to park along the highway that ran along the rim of the mountains. I figured we’d be able to see fireworks below us at the various communities. Wrong. Because of the distance and smog, all we saw were small flickers of light.
Not sure what we’ll see this year. We’re still going to see the family and maybe find somewhere they will be shooting off fireworks. I’m sure there will be smaller fireworks for the kids in the street in my son’s front yard. But, where won’t be a parade, or fireworks for my kids this year. I’ll miss them too.
– Ryan from St. George, Utah, a FAR customer who is finding purpose in this new stage of his life.
* The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of the Finance of America Reverse (FAR) LLC.