Memories of July 4: Grandma, corn and a piece of pie


I’ve already heard the first of the fireworks so I know the 4th of July is fast approaching. I’ve celebrated many of them with Grandma Esther over the years. I love this picture of her, decked out in red, white and blue, while catching up on her summer reading list. A glass of root beer nearby. The memories are still very alive for me.

Dad’s flipping the burgers over the charcoal grill, I’m slicing watermelon, while Mom’s dropping sweet corn in boiling water. The Land O’ Lakes butter is getting soft from the heat and humidity, and Grandma will soon use her special technique for moistening up those kernels. She’ll first heavily ‘butter up’ a slice of Wonder bread, then use the bread to rub up and down the corn cobs. It’s a good trick until all that excess butter starts dribbling down your chin at the first bite.

Thinking about those yellow and white kernels makes me think I should take a short drive west of here to check on this season’s corn crop. I wonder will it be ‘knee high by the 4th of July’, though I hear that’s not good enough anymore. The stalks need to be much taller these days.

I can also check in on an old favorite cafe of Grandma’s for coffee. She’d always tell us, a ‘much needed’ coffee break at Red’s cafe was a requirement when driving on country roads. Even if we’d only been in the car twenty minutes. I didn’t quite understand her reasoning as a kid. But as a seasoned coffee drinker, I do now.

While I’m at it, a slice of strawberry pie would be very nice with that coffee, or maybe rhubarb. Grandma definitely would have liked that.

We’ll make it a beautiful morning

I hope to get my husband Richard outside this weekend. Just the two of us. The weather should be pleasant and the fresh air will be good for both my husband and me.

I may though bring along one of the dogs. Richard responds to the feel of the soft, silky hair as he pats their long backs. And the dogs respond well to to his gentle strokes.

I’ll bring a contemporary art book he used to like. He doesn’t react to the bright, splashy images very often anymore. But sometimes he’ll hold the heavy book in front of him, and carefully turn the pages just as he always did.

We may hear the church bells chime if I time it right in the courtyard. I find it soothing, and like to think Richard does too. I do know we’ll hear a chorus of cardinals chirping around us by the feeder. We’ll sit together quietly as he rarely utters a word anymore. I will hold his hand.

I’ll bring some chocolates along as a special treat. Godiva, Richard’s favorite. We’ll make it a beautiful Sunday morning, just like we used to do.