The fourth of July has always been one of my favorite holidays. It takes me back to my childhood and the long day of anticipation we'd have each year for dusk to fall. Dad would have the barbecue going on one of those half barrel makeshift grills, laughing loud with his brothers all of them with soul brother picks in their enormous afros.
In our neighborhood, fireworks were legal. Yep. All of those sparks flew right in our driveways and on our streets. And all of us kids would run around barefoot all day long playing tag and waiting for the sun to finally, finally, finally disappear from sight. We called it "Firecracker Day" and, in a lot of ways, it was as wonderful as Christmas.
Those were very good times. Full of family and great memories. We'd extend it full into the weekend which made it all the better. Man. It was the best.
Well. My kids were on the west coast this year. And we were on the opposite side of the map. But that doesn't mean aren't still making it great. This Firecracker Weekend was as epic as ever. From coast to coast, baby.
Want to see it? Here it go.
Started off with an Atlanta tradition: The Peachtree Road Race. This is the world's biggest 10K and has the most amazing energy. I will always love the Peachtree because it was my very first real race. I began running in memory of my sister Deanna and I'll always have a special place in my heart for this and the Army Ten Miler since they were firsts.
Started out at 5AM with my go-to pre run fuel. Some sort of crunchy peanut or almond butter, a banana and coffee. Oh, and the "go go juice" (also known as Accelerade.) Ha.
Weather this year was unseasonably COOL which was fantastic. And even better--it wasn't raining like last year.
Next stop was the MARTA. MARTA is our public train system in Atlanta and everyone knows that if you are running a race with 65,000 other people that MARTA is smarta.
Met up with by BFF/road dog Lisa D. which is always a blast.
But you know us Delta girls had to make an event out of it. One of my collegiate chapter sorority sisters arranged for us to get cool shirts with our chapter of initiation on it. Such a treat.
That last one was the "mean mug" shot. Don't we look bad ass? Ha. All of my girls ran strong and did our hearts good. Deanna would have been so proud of us. And especially hyped to see all of these Tuskegee Delta girls together.
After the race, Lisa's son (my godson) met us at the finish with Lisa's mom. Jackson and I took this picture which will go down as one of my all time favorites. It totally captures the relationship I share with him.
He asked, "Did you and Mommy win, Gigi?"
"We surely did," I told him.
He seemed to like that.
Thank goodness for grandparents. While mine were in LA with Poopdeck, Lisa's little boy stayed on with his nana. After the race, we made a "Thelma and Louise" decision and headed for a little-kid-free jaunt to the beach. My mom, brother, and some of his kids were already down there so they welcomed us to join.
And can I just say that I just LOVE the BHE because he values the fact that we both need to maintain our close friendships and that doing so takes time. It also takes a little sacrifice and "room" from your spouse. When we started kicking around going to the beach, Harry was awesome about it. The BHE and I didn't have big plans here plus he had a few business irons in the fire anyway. Him being so sweet about it made it just that much better.
So off we went! Girls' trip! Woot! Woot!
Just six hours later, we were floating in this inflatable raft and yucking it up in Florida.
The night was as magical as the July 4 nights of my childhood. The only difference was that Will (my brother) did the grilling on a gas grill and the fireworks that went off were on the beach instead of the block.
Yes. I said on the beach. Which we watched from the pleasant location of our deck.
Some kids were actually involved. Just teenage ones. Here's me with my twin, aka my nephew David, who is now a rising senior in high school. (What the heck!?!) Once we got them to put down their cell phones, we played fun games together like "Thumper." We also played some other one that I forgot the name of. Essentially, the same games that involved adult beverages when we were in college but . . .uhh. . dry.
Who knew those games were fun on their own?
So that part was fun.
Here is my niece Tyler's All-American pedicure. I bet someone told her it was "fun." Which it sort of is.
I preferred to just tell her it was cute.
How about my All-American swim gear moment? (Really it was two separate pieces from a Target special, but it worked for Independence Day, man.) Flag sold separately.
Corny, I know.
Here's a snap from an awesome toast at dinner Saturday. Will, Lisa, my mom and me. We were at the "grown up table." Spirits could be found there. But no games were involved.
But what about my kids, you ask?
How awesome is it that THEY were on the west coast having the EXACT kind of Firecracker Day that I grew up having? Please note the bare feet and the fact the they are on my Dad's block. I guarantee you that there were all kinds of sparklers, rockets and spinners going off. And barbecue, too.
But no afro pick for Poopdeck these days for obvious reasons. I'm just sayin'.
They rounded up their weekend with an early morning hike in Baldwin Hills. How gorgeous is that?
Those stairs are SUPER steep. The boys took them with no problem. Grandpa said he needed the oxygen station.
Auntie JoLai did great on the stairs, of course. But she's the exercise guru. Of course this hike was her idea.
I still love Firecracker Weekend. For all of the same reasons, I do.
What did you all do for your weekend? What kind of traditions did you grow up with?
Happy Post Firecracker Weekend.
How can I not hear this on my mental iPod?
And for old school sake. . . . y'all don't know nothin' 'bout this here. (Unless, of course, your daddy had a afro pick in his hair and was grilling on the half barrel barbecue.)