Saturday, July 9, 2011

Fourth Of July Barbecues

I got back to the United States just in time for the summer to really kick into gear. This past Monday was the Fourth of July when the U.S. celebrates the country's declaration of independence from England way back in 1776. For me and lots of others in the U.S., it's when people start taking vacations and having pool parties and barbecues! What fun!

My weekend started out with my dad, Ginny, and my sister's family at my dad's condo in Wildwood. I came back up to the city on Sunday morning to go to a combo pool party and BBQ at my friend Brian's house, which isn't too far from where my dad lives. Brian and I hadn't seen or spoken to each other in years--since we were in high school together. We "met up" again through facebook recently and he invited me over for the party.

While at his house, I took this photo as I thought it's a perfect "All American" BBQ spread. You've got an ice-filled bucket with beer and soda, a tray of hot dogs and hamburgers, bottles of ketchup and mustard, potato and macaroni salads, an American flag motif, and the family dog. I'm not sure that you can get more American than this:

I had a great time getting to know Brian again and meeting his family and friends. Brian told me that he loves my writing and never misses one of my blog posts. I have to say that it's nice to have fans! Thanks for the great time Brian and lets not wait another 25 years to do it again!

The following day I went to another Fourth pool party and barbecue (do you see the pattern yet?). This one was thrown by my brother-in-law Larry's (Jr.) parents, Diane and (big) Larry. Their back yard was packed with at least 50 people. It was a very hot and humid day so lots of folks took advantage of the pool and, in this photo, were playing volleyball.

I snapped this photo right around dinner time when the "dads" took over the pool. I love how everyone has their own flotation device. My bro-in-law Larry is in the middle on the right:

Not only were the food, drinks, and desserts plentiful and good, they did a great job entertaining the kids. In addition to the pool, they had a piƱata filled with candy and they held some sack races. I never thought much about (potato) sack races before but now that I've traveled to so many places around the world and now really notice cultural things like this, I spent some time trying to find out what the history of it is. I couldn't find anything very detailed (anyone want to write a book?) but what I did see suggested that it originated around the time of the (U.S.) Revolutionary War, which makes it seem even more appropriate for a Fourth of July BBQ. In this photo you can see two of my nieces (Brynn and Cori) on the left side along with two other girls:

Probably the best part of being back in Philadelphia (or at least the Philadelphia area) is getting to spend extended time with family. It seems that every time I'm here my breeder brother and sister have another kid. I love hanging out with all 29 of them (just kidding-only 6-but it seems like more). I was holding my nephew Danny when my arms got tired so I put him in a small plastic wagon and pulled him around the yard. He really seemed to enjoy it but probably not nearly as much as I did.

What can I say? Long-time friends, lots of family, pool parties, and barbecued meat. As the saying goes, it's about as American as apple pie. Happy birthday U.S.A. What time are the fireworks?

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