The Fourth Lasts All Week

We’re out and about this week, so I thought I’d just give you a little peek into our holiday…

The Fourth of July usually means we take the 8-hour drive to go to my parents’ house in Oklahoma.  It’s a lovely place on the lake, previously owned by my mom’s mom–Grandma Mary, and my memories of this place stretch back as far as I can remember–we’ve always been here.  As a kid, finding cicadas in the trees, walking through the woods, and exploring the dam, finding frogs by the rocks, and being warned of water moccasins in the murky water.  Crawdads and catfish.  Good times.

When my grandmother passed away a couple of years ago, my parents were thankfully able to buy the house, and moved from a 3-level house in bustling Maryland to the tiny 1-story house on the lake.  They downsized, they remodeled, they added and altered, but it still has that happy feeling.

So my sister drives the 20-plus hours to visit, and we’re stationed 8 hours away in Texas, and we all meet up at the lake.  And we try to do all the things we loved as a kid, just a taste, and then some new things to add to the mix.

My uncle takes us for a ride on his boat, and we look at the fancy villas and wonder which house we’d choose if we had a billion dollars to spare.


The family plays out in the lake.  I usually stay on the sidelines, keeping my pale white skin out of the sun, doodling,  and throwing sticks in the water for our dog to bring them back.  Sometimes I join in, but mostly I love to watch and listen.  It’s my favorite thing.

adie lake

And admittedly, my face is in my sketchbook a lot of the time, but I can’t help it–I love listening to everything.  When grandma was alive, my husband could pull stories from her that I’d never have even thought to ask, and I’d sketch and listen, afraid to ruin the flow, and it was my very favorite thing.  I always wished I could get her to tell stories like he could, but I’m so grateful I got to hear them nonetheless.


We weren’t allowed to play with fireworks much (beyond sparklers and snakes) when I was younger, and probably for good reason.  The one time my dad let me try at about Myla’s age now, I got burned across the chest by an errant wonky bottle rocket.  So there’s that.  But my sister is always careful now to buy the little ones, the fun ones that Myla can join in on, and a few fancy bigger ones, and we sit by the lake popping little fireworks.


Because we lead a fairly nomadic army life now, I don’t always get to be this close to my family (if 8 hours is “close”), so I’m grateful for the time we have.  I’d love to visit all the other family, but I’ll take what we can get.  We’re used to being far from friends and family.  My husband is still deployed, but heading back soon, thankfully.  It’s not easy, but it’s life…so when we have it within visiting distance, it’s definitely worth the trip.


Gratitude and love and good memories.  What do your 4th memories look like?  Where are your happy places?

14 responses

  1. Um, are you drawing like Myla? Or, is the last sketch a cooperative sketch?

    1. Drawing like Myla? You mean with animal heads? Well I’ve always sort of done that, but these little guys are all me. Just weird little doodles while visiting family…

      1. I think what salxandra means is the way you’ve drawn the stuff that surrounds ‘Catgirl’ – the tank etc.

        With best regards

      2. Yes, the tank… and the various other fireworks. Are they Myla’s or yours?

  2. What a lovely way to celebrate the 4th. Army life can certainly fling you far away from family, so I’m glad that you are still able to travel and make a connection. Love the artwork on your paper, arm and nails!

  3. Well, I’m from Canada, so we celebrate Canada Day. But it’s the same idea I’m sure! We always go camping, but this year we decided to stay in town and watch the parade. So much fun! Our little guy is six and he loved it. We might make that our new tradition. No fireworks here in the Yukon, though. The midnight sun and all that! 🙂

    1. Yep I do know about the midnight sun! I spent 3 years in Alaska! I wondered what people in different places did. And I love to hear about everyone’s happy places!

  4. I love the Cat People. How lovely that you managed to have a big family get-together at a place filled with so many happy memories. I love on another continent from my family so I get the whole distance thing, believe me. It does mean the time together is more precious and makes it quality over quantity. Our 4th of July was a total washout. Just as the fireworks display started, the sky opened and we found ourselves in a deluge. We were all drenched within minutes. Never mind. At least we weren’t trying to eat a picnic or barbecue at the time.

    1. Oh our 4th was the same–complete downpour! We had to do the backyard fireworks on the 5th. Still made it pretty fun!

  5. We only wished for a deluge! Getting pretty drought-y here in the Northeast. Love your doodles — I never doodle more than when I’m somewhere with a bunch of people, beloved or not! But lately most of our family gatherings are here at our house. No chance, then.

  6. I remember back to fireworks displays with my grandma and aunts and uncles and cousins. My kids are still scared of the load booms so we sat the fireworks out this year (plus it was threatening to rain anyway). But I definitely look forward to sharing the experience together when they are a little older.

  7. Thanks for sharing! Love to have you here! Makes it so very special. Getting to see you, your sister, and your families for the holidays are an added bonus for me. We love having your mom and dad close and feel very blessed that this means we get all of you here more often. ❤️

  8. I love the cat people. It reminds me one of the Aerosmith albums. We always to my great-aunt’s house on the fourth. Some years we went to see fireworks.

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