It is not too early to be thinking about getting yourself, your family, your home, and your parade entry ready for the 94th annual July Fourth extravaganza in Peabody. It is just a few weeks away, and there is plenty to do between now and then.
There, I said it. I have spent some serious time looking at a blank computer screen while trying to think of a topic to fill this space.
As always at this time of year, I am looking forward to our big annual celebration. It is usually hard for me to think of anything else about which I can get preachy when Independence Day approaches. I cannot wait to urge you to drape bunting on your porch. I want to hear about all the clubs and individuals planning to decorate hay racks and golf carts for the parade. I hope the Fourth Fest committee has plenty of volunteers to build set pieces and stamp admission buttons. It is always rewarding to hear about other planned activities, like the 5K run, the kids’ games, and the flea market.
This year is my 44th celebration in Peabody. I hardly remember the holiday before moving here. When I was growing up, we lived in states that restricted the sale and detonation of personal fireworks. Sometimes we spent the holiday with my grandparents and cousins in Arkansas, exploding little lady finger firecrackers by the hundreds, as did all the other kids in the town. We thought that was just the best! However, I never spent the holiday in a community that made an all-day celebration of it until we came to Peabody.
Our family has many great stories about the celebration and the various guests and parties that took place at our house, especially after The Daughters began bringing home college friends to spend the holiday with us. Mud volleyball teams, beer-belly basketball shoot-out at noon, the friends and family hay rack ride around town after the parade with guitars, dogs, and a designated driver were all a part of celebrations past – and we have pictures to prove it. One year a guest announced she had never seen so many American flags in one community and she spent a good portion of the day driving up and down the streets of Peabody counting flag displays. I no longer remember how many she cataloged, but it was plenty.
Eventually the college friends began bringing their offspring, and we no longer were hosts for mud volleyball teams. My very favorite July Fourth photo is of sweet 2-year old Meghan, who jumped, stark naked, out of a washtub of water in which she was splashing when she heard the sirens of the police cars announce the approach of the July Fourth parade. As she scampered down the driveway, she yanked up a small flag stuck in the ground next to the curb and waved it as she ran. Pure Americana.
Our celebrations are now a little more subdued. Some of the same families return and we have new guests from Romania, Wichita, Winfield, and elsewhere who have shared the holiday with us for several years. We have become part of their tradition, and it is always nice to have them.
So enjoy this holiday that has become synonymous with Peabody. Be a part of everything you can and welcome the celebration. It is ours, and no one does it as we do!