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Celebrating the Fourth

blackberry pickingUncle Sam

One of my art teachers suggested travel as a way to refresh and renew artistic ventures. That has been easy advice to follow although I can’t say that necessarily my art has been

 enhanced by this trip.

For the past several years, I have driven from Texas to Wisconsin to celebrate the Fourth, visit with family and friends, eat good food, and be away from work. This past year has been rather stressful–although it seems that I could say that about every year–and so it was good to escape Texas heat for the relative cool of Wisconsin.

The Fourth of July celebration in the little town of Eastman is always fun. People come from many miles away and crowd onto both sides of the mile long town for the hour and half parade. The parade contains fire trucks, antique tractors, horses, floats, dairy princesses, people campaigning for office, bands, veterans, and then there’s the candy-throwers. Some throw out icy-pops, string cheese, noisemakers, frisbees, or campaign literature. After the parade, its time to head for the school grounds to have a home made brat made by my second cousin and grilled outdoors, homemade pie made by each home in the city and donated, and watch the softball games with teams of grade school children all the way up to adults, the water balloon tosses and sack races to win a dollar, the greased animal chase and capture, and mud volleyball. In the evening, around nine or so, people again gather to watch the fireworks. The firework display lasts over half an hour–and is put together by a former high school classmate of mine—he was not gifted academically but quite talented in this arena–My parents would always pop popcorn and we would have our one bottle of soda for the year. We would chase fireflies while waiting for the fireworks to start.

More of the photos from the Fourth can be seen here

I can only remember one Fourth parade that was canceled due to rain. This year we had a huge thunderstorm with over an inch of rain the night before. One of the things about ‘going home’ is doing all the things you did as a child but now since I live in a different climate and place, don’t do any more. So I had a grand time pulling weeds, picking cucumbers, blackberry picking, making pies, riding a moped, and having a picnic with family. Wisconsin is so beautiful–so lush–

More photos can be seen here:

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