Yesterday was another quiet celebration of the 4th of July for Steve and I. The 4th is a holiday filled with longing for past celebrations that can’t be replicated or reinvented. Cinco de Mayo is another. Cinco was my father’s favorite holiday because he could just celebrate without having to meet the expectation of others. My grandfather, George Robinson was born on the 4th of July. His wife, Florence, was born on the 2nd. My maternal grandmother, Mildred Taylor, was born on the 1st. Until my father’s illness and parents subsequent divorce, the 4th of July was my Camelot. Both sets of grandparents, my great parents, and village of neighbors that loved me too. The village of neighbors included “Uncle Sam” DiNatale. Family friends were called Aunties and Uncles. My Uncle Sam changed his from Guido to Sam when he became an American citizen, celebrating his birthday on the 4th as well.
I contracted the German Measles at age 4 and spent the 4th with my Grandfather on the porch of my Great Grandfather’s home while everyone walked down to see the fireworks in the park. We tried when our children were young, to recreate that same deep feeling but other forces came to play. The fireworks would give my sweet mother-in-law the feeling of migraines; the whistling of bottle rocks the horrors of incoming mortars to my valiant Vietnam veteran brother-in-law. Once we created a block party, another year attended one, neither experience, though joyous were repeated. I have come to realize that the day of celebration is not the feeling of longing but the gathering of love in my life. Thankfully it is not restricted to one day a year but small, year long moments and life moments that are crowned with good and brotherhood from Sea to Shining Sea.