Saturday, July 4, 2009

Fourth of July, 2000

For the last nine years the Fourth of July has held feelings for me that are quite a conundrum. Patriotism has always been very near to my heart. Many of my memories are of my family celebrating all of our country's holidays.

Thanksgiving and Christmas were always fabulous celebrations with cooking started weeks, if not months, ahead. The freezer would start filling with cookies in October. The week before Thanksgiving was always a frenzy. There were at least four congealed salads, two or three types of potatoes, green bean casserole and just plain old green beans for the finicky eaters in our family, plain corn, corn on the cob, black eyed peas, lima beans, the turkey filled with dressing and another pan of dressing on the side, ham with pineapple slices, home made rolls, mincemeat pie, pumpkin pie, chocolate pie, sometimes lemon meringue pie, a cake or two and Mama would break out a few cookies and peanut butter balls just to hold us over until Christmas Eve.

There were always a couple of tables surrounded with family and friends. If not many of the family could be there, Mama would always find those who would be spending the holiday alone and invite them to share with us.

Christmas was the most wondrous Holiday at out house. Decorating would always start the day after Thanksgiving. A lot of our decorations were those that were homemade at my Mother's hand with our "help". I remember the year that she made an army of toy soldiers, all different sizes, made from everything from toilet tissue rolls, paper towel rolls, oatmeal boxes, cans of all different sizes and the largest was the container of Lincoln Logs my sister was getting for Christmas that year. Mama made all of the others just to camouflage this gift. She knew if she just wrapped it and put it under the tree, Tracy would know what she was getting. Mama was a great stickler for surprises.

To this day I do not know for sure how she managed to do all that was done. I know that she had a lot of help from my Dad. We kids would help with the fun stuff but a lot of it was done after we were all in bed.

On the Fourth of July, our house always flew an American Flag. It might just be a little one but it was always there. Our dinner table would have red, white and blue plates and napkins that she had bought on clearance the year before and put away for this particular celebration. One time I remember she had made a cake iced to look like a flag. We were thrilled.

When I was in the first grade we lived in a very small community called Raymond, Ohio. The Fourth of July celebration was one in which the entire town participated. What I remember most about my first Independence Day celebration there was that I had just gotten my "new" bike (My Uncle Pat had pulled it out of a ditch a few weeks before and had helped Daddy rework it for me.). Daddy helped me decorate it with red, white and blue streamers and it won first place in the decorated bike parade. I also managed to win the hula hoop contest. At that time I could keep four of them going at the same time, work them from my neck to my feet and back up again. Boy do I wish I could still do that today. For my efforts that day I got two fifty cent pieces. A whole dollar. That was a fortune to me at that time. I could get 100 pieces of bubble gum at the General Store.

Now for the many mixed feelings that surround this day. On July 4, 2000 we buried my mother in a cemetery in Huntington, West Virginia, her hometown, and the cemetery in which a lot of my family members are buried and where, unless things change, my Father will someday be buried. (Don't hurry Daddy. I need you for a long time to come.). On that day, after my cousin had completed his service, I could hear Mama's voice singing, "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus in the morning, Jesus in the noontime... I began to sing with her and soon some of the others were singing with us. It is an indelible memory. I can still hear her singing. We used to sing a whole lot in the car when we were traveling.

While looking through poems to include with today's post, I came across one that I had forgotten about. It will show you how I feel about my Mama and why July 4th is a somewhat difficult day for me. One thing that makes it easier is a comment that was made to me after returning to work. One of my employer's said, "Joyce, the 4th of July will always be your Mama's Independence Day". Well, he wasn't quite accurate. June 30th is her Independence Day as this is the day she passed from this life into the next, but it did made the remembrances of that day a little easier for me.

As you enjoy your day with your family, think of the memories you are building. Make a little extra effort to put out red, white and blue plates and napkins. If not this year, go buy some for next year at your local clearance sale.

God Bless,


You Are Beautiful To Me

Do you recall when I was a child?
My world was centered around you.
The days were filled with love and kindness.
And no sacrifice was too great for you to make.
You were beautiful to me.

Do you recall when I was a young girl?
My world was centered around you, and myself.
All things were bright and beautiful.
And you were my teacher and my comforter.
You were beautiful to me.

Do you recall when I was a young woman?
My world was centered around you, and my friends.
Most things were bright and beautiful.
And when things were not so bright, you were there.
You were beautiful to me.

Do you recall when I was a young mother?
My world was centered around you, and my family.
Some things were bright and beautiful, but filled with challenges I never imagined.
At every turn, you were my confidant, and my friend.
You were beautiful to me.

Do you recall when our families grew up?
We were still young and full of dreams.
We shared lovely moments.
We looked to the future.
You were beautiful to me.

I look to the day I will become the age you were when you passed.
Some days will be dark and scary.
Some days will be filled with wonder and thanks giving.
I am will be a better person because of you.
You WILL ALWAYS BE beautiful to me.

Mimmy aka Joyce Smith
February 15, 2006


  1. Okay, so I saw your comment about being new and I will have to say that it takes time to get the blogging thing down. Your mother sounds like a wonderful lady who would have been so proud of you to this day. Your co-worker is right as well. June 30th or July 4th will always be your mother's independance day.

    Hope you and your family enjoy today! God bless and Happy Fourth!

  2. After reading your post, I was not only hungry for that Thanksgiving feast you described...but moved by your mother's rememberances. My own mother passed away when I was 23, and that was 25 yrs ago now, (no need to do the math, I'm getting older!) and was buried on a Good Friday. Something about her being buried on the day that Christ was, is comforting, in somewhat the same way your mother's "Independance Day" is.


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