From Pipi’s Pasture: Remembering the 4th of July
It’s nearly the Fourth of July here at Pipi’s Pasture, and I’ve been trying to remember how we celebrated the holiday when my sisters, brother and I were growing up on the ranch at Morapos. I’ve talked to my sisters; I’ve talked to my brother. Nothing much stands out. I think it’s because July is a busy time of year for ranchers, and in those days we couldn’t afford to take the time off to celebrate.
We always moved the cattle to summer pasture on the national forest just before the Fourth of July, and the very next day haying season got under way — sometimes on the day of the holiday. There was always the worry that there would be a stormy patch of weather so if it was possible to work in the hay field, that’s what Dad did.
So while Dad cut hay, we kids helped out with chores at the house. That usually meant weeding and irrigating the garden. The day was usually hot, and working in the garden wasn’t our favorite chore so Mom sometimes offered us a reward. The reward I remember most was getting to use the old crank-type ice cream freeze to make ice cream. The ice cream, topped with strawberries from our strawberry patch, was to be the highlight of our picnic supper that likely included fried chicken (if the fryers were ready to be harvested by then).
So, although our picnic supper was usually eaten inside, that’s how we celebrated the Fourth of July. We didn’t have fireworks because Dad and Mom worried about fire danger and our safety, though I do remember our parents lighting sparklers at some time. We didn’t go to the fireworks show in Craig, either, because Dad didn’t usually get in from the hay field in time.
Our sister Charlotte remembers that we did attend the Fourth of July pageant that commemorated the Meeker Massacre one year. The annual event was held in the evening at Meeker. Although I have attended this event as an adult, I don’t remember going when I was younger. Charlotte thinks that she was about 9 years old.
Most of my memories of the Fourth are from the days when our sons Jody and Jamie were young boys. We lived over at Severance then, and we didn’t have ranch chores. We began celebrating the Fourth with the Independence Day Parade at Greeley. That evening we went to supper at a good friend’s home in Fort Collins. When it was nearly dark we went to the Fort Collins City Park to watch the fireworks show. Because the fireworks were shot off over the lake, it was always cool enough for jackets and blankets.
Our boys enjoyed lighting the safe fireworks that we allowed them to purchase. They included the “snakes” that produced a bunch of smoke, sparklers, little fountains and some “specialty” fireworks such as cardboard tanks and helicopters. I remember how the boys took the fireworks out of their sacks and looked at them for days before the holiday.
And then a couple of years ago Lyle and I attended a special parade with our son Jody’s family in Vernal. I’ll write about it next time. In the meantime, have a great Fourth of July!
With an above-average snowpack following a snowy winter, local firefighters and wildlife experts are expecting a mild fire season this year, especially at higher elevations.