Every family has their traditions, especially around the holidays. My family is no different. For each holiday, there is a "standard" way we celebrate, traditions based on a mash-up of things we did as kids. Most of my siblings and I live in the same town, and we tend to gather together on the holidays, often at my house.
Today is Independence Day in America. When I was a child, our family tradition was to get a few fireworks (sparklers, smoke bombs, snakes) and a couple "big" fireworks (here in Oregon, that means fountains, and nothing that can go airborne). The adults would handle the lighters, us kids would handle the safer fireworks, then we'd gather together to set off the bigger fireworks.
Now that us siblings have our own families, we've switched up the annual gathering to a dinner pot luck barbecue and firework extravaganza with optional basketball matches, bocce ball games, croquet, horseshoes, badminton, and, if weather allows, we fill the old pool and let the little ones splash about in the cold water.
This year due to work schedules, we switched it up a little more and held our big celebration yesterday, July 3rd. While the weather has been miserably hot in most of the states, here in Oregon it's been cloudy, wet, and in the mid-to-high 60F/15.5C
We had an absolutely terrific time! Great food, wonderful conversations, fun croquet and bocce ball matches, lots of beautiful (and loud) fireworks, and of course, the traditional tank war.
Each kid from littlest to young adult, gets a tank-shaped firework. Then they stage their attack plan, light the tanks off at the same time, and battle to the death. The winner is any tank that hasn't turned into ash by the end of the fire storm.
We first started this "battle" maybe twelve years ago, and it has been a tradition ever since, occasionally recruiting a few chicken-shaped fireworks or dinosaur-shaped fireworks in the mix. While there were a few tank winners left standing this year, the battle was hard-fought, and the brave cardboard warriors (and one chicken) went up in a glorious blaze of flame!
Irene Goodman Literary Agency
27 W. 24th Street
Suite 700 B
New York, NY 10010