Tuesday, June 28, 2011


It's a big weekend coming up. We welcome family from Michelle and my sides – 13 in all. They're coming from six states – North Dakota, Nebraska, Texas, Georgia, Iowa and Maryland. They're not coming to see us; we're not that interesting. They're coming for baby Isaiah's baptism this Sunday.

It's a blessed event, to be sure, and one we know our families are excited to share with us. But we figured to maximize interest, we pinned the date on the July 4th weekend, when our little town goes absolutely zany in its display of patriotic fervor and parties. It's such a festival of entertainment centered around our nation's independence that people come from all over to take it in.

We're lucky in that respect. We live in a town that is not only bayside beautiful, but holds one heckuva fun fiesta each and every summer. The offerings include nightly concerts in a park by the water, a carnival on the town common, backyard barbecues and a restaurant, bar and nightlife scene that, for a few days at least, would rival a mid-size city. In the seven years we've lived in this town, I've always been struck at the kaleidoscope of activity, the fever that grips everyone around July 4th. It's amazing.

Another draw to this time – and certainly of interest to some in our families – is the annual, traditional party that one of our neighbors holds. The affair is a really nice mix of extended family (theirs, of course), friends and even folks who wander in. The hosts are just great, colorful people who value time spent with others above all else, which explains why the annual July 4th party is so important to them and has become such a tradition. And then there's the backyard fireworks that culminate the evening. We're not talking sparklers here; these pyrotechnics are the monster, exploding bursts of color and sound that municipalities shell out for special events. It's like watching an Imax film from the front row. Except you're looking up, and you need to watch out for falling debris.

I'm failing to fully describe the scene, neighborly and across town, that marks this time. Granted, Isaiah's baptism and the reception we'll hold in his honor trumps all this weekend. But it doesn't hurt to have other attractions to reel family in.

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