The Ellis household rarely celebrates Independence Day with the same enthusiasm and effort as we do so many other holidays during the year. However, since the grandchildren were coming for this July 4th, I decided to make an extra effort. They arrived late on Thursday night with toys and suitcases in tow. Hungry, of course. I’ve rarely seen them when they weren’t hungry.
Earlier Thursday in preparation for their arrival, I’d made a cake for the occasion. I used an old favorite recipe that’s been in my family for years—our favorite white cake, as a matter of fact. Carefully I divided the batter into thirds, left one white, and then colored one layer red, one blue. They looked beautiful going into the oven. Not having a strong background in chemistry, I can’t explain exactly what happened, but things changed a bit in the oven. The layers came out green, yellow, and red. One accurate color out of three is pretty bad. Nonetheless, I iced the layers with cream cheese frosting and decorated the top with blue berries and strawberries. We even put candles on it, which Will and Jakey were delighted to blow out. The colors were a bit off, but the concoction was delicious, and the holiday had its own cake. What’s a holiday without a cake? Not much, according to my family.
Friday, Larry grilled the traditional hamburgers and hot dogs, and watermelon finished up the meal. That’s the American way, right? Around 8:45 p.m., we made our way to watch the fireworks. At the field, we spread a quilt on the ground for the children, gave them glow sticks to entertain them until the fireworks started, and settled into our folding chairs to wait. We were prepared with insect repellent, but the nice breeze made it unnecessary. All in all, it was a perfect night for the fireworks.
“Mom, you used to buy glow sticks for me when I went on camping trips with the Boy Scouts,” Calvin said. “Remember?”
“Of course,” I replied. “I think your leaders wanted y’all to have them so you’d be more visible in the dark. You wore them around your neck.”
“Well, whatever the reason, I always enjoyed them.”
“Dad, where did you camp when your troop went camping?” Trey, the current Boy Scout, asked. “Was it far from here?”
Suddenly Calvin was telling his sons stories from his youth as we waited. Old stories poured out of baking cakes in cardboard boxes over a campfire, of juicy trail burgers cooked in aluminum foil in the coals, and the best bacon ever cooked by hungry boys in the early morning.
For the complete column pick up your copy of The Baxley News-Banner on newsstands today or CLICK HERE or Call 912-367-2468 to Subscribe.