It was a great 4th! :-)
I have to thank my loving sister and her husband for putting up with "Little Mark" and I for a whole week. :-) (Yes, I did thank them in person many times, but felt I needed to do it publicly as well.) :-)
We all know that saying, "Fish and company both stink after 3 days." Well, we were there for 6 days. We tried to make sure we "earned our keep" by helping out, which may have bugged our kind hosts at times. Sorry about that. But, we had such a wonderful time. ;-)
We got to eat here:
We watched lots of "House Hunters" and "Property Virgins." I had never seen those shows before, so that was cool. :-) We also ate some really great chicken, which I hope to get the recipe to. ;-) We played bowling on Playstation 2, again another first for me. I actually got pretty good, but "Little Mark" won almost every game. Loving Sister kicked my butt in "Trivial Pursuit: Totally 80s edition" and the youngest nephew kicked all of our butts in "Disney Trivial Pursuit." :-)
We also got to see some REALLY COOL fireworks, like these:
We actually got to see fireworks two nights in a row. The first night we were close enough to where they were shooting them off that we could hear the patriotic music playing as the sky exploded in colors. Yes, I felt very patriotic, and got a lump in my throat as I thought of our men and women in uniform stationed all over the globe. I said a prayer for each of them, and thanked God that they are willing to put themselves in harms way for us, and the other nations who also are fighting to "have a voice" in choosing how they want to live.
Last night we went to another fireworks display. As we were waiting in the parking lot for it start I overheard some people talking. By their accents I could definitely tell they were from Africa. Then a couple of cars pulled up next to us, and two families of Middle Eastern dissent emerged from their vehicles. They were smiling, and talking. The children were so excited and laughing, eagerly waiting for the display to begin. All around us the parking lot was full of cars with people of all races/nationalities/religions, etc. I couldn't help but think to myself, "This IS America." This is what it is all about, exactly what we are here celebrating. It isn't just to see a bunch of colors explode in the sky, although that exciting.
It is remembering a time when we, as a nation, stood up and said, "We want freedom." And we got it.
Yes, we have problems in our country, we are not perfect; but we still live in the greatest nation in the world because we are free to speak our mind. We have a say in how the problems will be solved, and who will solve them. We also have the freedom to disagree with one another, and that is okay.
(I'll get off of my soap box now.) :-)
So, again, I say "Thank you" to my loving sister and brother-in-law." We appreciate the hospitality and the good time.