Fair Warning: Gonna be talking about my dead mom again in this one.
My mom used to throw the most absolutely amazing 4th of July parties. Epic 4th of July parties. Parties people still talk about twentysome years later.
There would be food, of course, because Mom was a Feeder. I firmly believe Southern moms are the Protestant equivalent of Jewish and Italian moms in this respect–they all believe no holiday or major life crises should be faced without massive quantities of home-cooked food.
There would also be some decorations, because that’s how Mom rolled. But the really memorable thing that set Mom’s parties apart were the Games.
She would organize these… tournaments… during the 4th of July party every year. And she made trophies. If, by some miracle of dexterity you could beat my Uncle Larry or Papaw Fred at badminton, you would have gone home with a truly glorious trophy made of part of an old racquet hot-glued to a block of wood, spray-painted gold and with your name “engraved” in black Sharpie marker on it. A similar sawed-off croquet mallet trophy awaited the winner of the croquet tournament.
And it was like the collective competitive spirit in our family and circle of friends had saved itself up for the entire year to be loosed on our front lawn over these trophies. We didn’t watch baseball, football, or even college basketball. The only madness in our March was Mom and Dad’s annual stress over the income tax return. But by God, blood could be shed over the 4th of July Games.
If my mom were here now (and had email), I would have sent her this, as she was a major old-school Trekkie. I’ve been meaning to share it here anyway, so why not today?
We would likely have both giggled uncontrollably watching this thing, and would both have been unconsciously bobbing along with the music and doing that weird “pursing our lips” thing we both do/did when we are unaware that we are dancing to whatever ambient music is in the area.
Right now, my immediate family is out of town, and my extended family are mostly recovering from their own vacations this week. I’m getting ready to head out to a barbecue with my community group. It should be a fun time of fellowship with people I care about.
It will, sadly, not likely include Croquet Deathmatches.
Hope you have an Epic Fourth of July, wherever you are, reader friends.