From Pipi’s Pasture: July 4 over the years
July 4 is here already, and I’ve been remembering how our family has celebrated the holiday over the years, beginning when my siblings and I were growing up on the ranch. In those earlier days we really didn’t celebrate the 4th—at least not with fireworks and a picnic. Ranch work was important. A few days before the 4th we moved the cattle to summer pasture on the national forest. Neighbors helped neighbors move cattle so it took several days. Then the day after the cows were moved, haying season began—that was usually the 4th.
So while Dad cut hay we worked around the house with Mom. The usual job was hoeing rows and rows of garden vegetables. We knew that Dad wouldn’t come in from the hayfield until almost dark so there was no way we could attend the fireworks show in Craig. However, Mom promised that we would celebrate with a special supper which usually included fried chicken and homemade ice cream. We even had strawberries from a little garden near the house for the ice cream. We didn’t have any fireworks to set off. As I recall, our parents considered them to be dangerous.
Fast forward to the days when Lyle and I had kids. We lived at Severance, Colorado for those years that Jody and Jamie were elementary age. We let them buy safe, ground fireworks. I remember how they enjoyed looking around at the firework stand. I must admit it was pretty awesome since I never bought fireworks as a kid.
The boys had their own bags of fireworks, and in the days before the 4th they took them out several times of the day, looked them over, and put them back. Then the night arrived to “set them off.” We went out to the backyard. I sat on the steps and held Benji, Jody’s trembling dog, and Lyle helped the boys light up the fireworks. There were snakes, small fountains, spinners, sparklers, and intriguing little fireworks, such as a tank that spewed sparks.
The 4th of July was a full day. First, we attended the parade in Greeley. The late afternoon supper was at an adopted grandma’s house in Fort Collins, followed by the fireworks show at the city park. The fireworks were set off over the park lake, and I can remember how chilly the evening air was. On the way home, we were treated to some of the fireworks that were being set off in Greeley.
As our children grew up, married, and had children of their own, we experienced many 4th of July celebrations with them. We also enjoyed the holiday with my brother Duane Osborn, on the same ranch where we lived as kids. A couple of those 4ths were rainy. On one particularly memorable but damp night Duane built a bonfire out in the pasture where we attempted to set off fireworks.
Enjoy your 4th of July!
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