Why I Love Fourth of July

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Call me un-American, but Fourth of July has never been my very favorite holiday. I'm not a fan of barbecue food, humidity, or American-flag manicures. I much prefer Christmas for many reasons, one being the rich velvets and glitter that the season allows you to add to your wardrobe. But to me, there's never been a part of Fourth of July that has been a favorite memory. I like the holiday, and I am in no way a Grinch of any sort, but it has never been my preferred day of the year. My little brother is insulted by my lack of enthusiasm, crying, "don't you know what our founding fathers did for you!?" Yes, he's one of those 13-Year-Old boys, that are beyond intelligent and intellectual, reading books like D-Day and Moby Dick by the pool, while I prefer a thick copy of Vogue or Glamour. 

This year was a different kind of Fourth of July, though. To be honest, I really loved it. A lot. Almost as much as my smart little brother, who's phone case even adorns the American Flag. This year, we spent the day with our whole family in a brand new house we just bought in a little town in Kentucky. We used to go to this town for the Fourth when I was little, and, before I was born, my mother had been going there every year since she was born. The town is better described as a series of small lakes surrounded by friendly people who ride around in golf carts. Our family friends for generations had once owned a house there, and that's where I spent the first few Fourth of Julys of my life: in a little house on a Kentucky lake, full of Turtle Races and the "Pocket Lady" (who had a dress made of pockets and children picked a pocket to get a small prize). But the family had to sell the house and I grew up nearly forgetting the Fourth of Julys spent jumping into the water off rope swings in my Little Mermaid floaties.

Maybe that was the detail I had been missing. Maybe my mind just knew better than to settle for the high-strung Chicago barbecues I had celebrated the Fourth with every year since the house was sold. We returned to the small Kentucky lakes this year because my mother was desperate for the Turtle Races, Rope Swings, and all our family and friends in one place. So we bought a house and spent the first week of July with cousins, aunts, friends, and all my favorite people in the world. The weather was actually disappointingly rainy; surprising for the usually fry-an-egg-on-the-sidewalk Kentucky we were used to. And I had just bought a red white and blue bathing suit! 

All of us crowded into the Kitchen/Living Room with our beer and our "Uno" cards, having the most perfect Fourth of July I could've ever asked for. Maybe it was all of us in one place, with nowhere else to be, or maybe it was the fact that there was no stress to make the holiday "American" or "summery". It simply was enough that we were all there and that's all we needed. Either way, I was woken up from the dreamy impression that Fourth of July was about barbecue food, humidity, and American-flag manicures. In a perfect "Christmas Carol"-like fashion, I was reminded by the Ghost of Fourth of July Past that holidays are not about the decorations, the food, or even the outfits, but about the people we love most in the world. 

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