I know holidays are supposed to inspire appreciation for important people or events like the signing of the Declaration of Independence, but what is most important to me these days is the chance to get together with extended family and just enjoy their presence. I’m sure our family gatherings are no different than anyone else’s, and we really don’t do anything extraordinary.
This year, we will again celebrate the Fourth by participating in and watching the annual Gateway Parade before returning to the family farm for a giant barbecue. My in-laws have 2 children, 10 grandchildren, and 24 great-grandchildren (I think), with at least two more great-grandchildren and one great-great grandchild on the way. The barbecue also involves friends, although we don’t need them to generate a crowd.
Usually, at least one family member is in the midst of a crisis that will compete with motocross, children, and the state of the economy as a topic of conversation. The talk is only interrupted by riding motorcycles on my father-in-law’s motocross track and the trek down to the parade route. We have our own family parade on the mile-long dirt road leading into “town” as the motorcycles, tractors, trucks, and vintage cars make their way to the parade lineup.
As the pictures above illustrate, most of the fun is being around grandchildren who find a thousand ways to entertain their grandparents and an almost equal number of ways to frustrate their parents.
I regret missing the great celebration Albany has planned this year, and I appreciate all the good work by our staff and the Mayor in helping to make it happen. I have learned, however, that it’s important to take advantage of the time you have with your family because you never know how many more opportunities you will have in the future. My in-laws are still active, vital people who not only maintain their small farm, but also race motocross (father-in-law) and serve on the regional ambulance district board (mother-in-law). I do not think there is anywhere else on the planet my children would rather be than at their grandparents’ home. A couple of them won’t be able to make it this year, so they have sent their own children as representatives.
I hope all who read this had a wonderful holiday, filled with the joy of all the best our country has to offer. Our family has its share of challenges and drama this year, but we are richly blessed with health and opportunities. Maybe the best way to express our appreciation for the signing of the Declaration of Independence is to enjoy the blessings it helped to create with the people who are most important to us.