In spite of temps in the 90s, we had a lovely Fourth of July celebration at the home of our daughter, Kelsey, and her husband, Stephen. Everyone was in place by 10 in the morning because of getting there early to park. The parade started promptly at 10:30 with seemingly dozens of gorgeous Corvettes leading the way. After that, the usual bands, candidates, and causes.
I was the organizer, but suddenly, the day before the party, I realized no one was signed up to bring buns for the hamburgers and hot dogs. Since Rhonda and Tim were bringing the meat, I impulsively called Rhonda to ask if that included buns. No. They had bought 28 hamburgers and 20 all beef hot dogs but not buns, so I told her I’d get them. No problem.
Then Rhonda admitted she probably wouldn’t come, for good reasons. She has many health issues, and also has had a couple of strokes since last year. The heat exacerbates her problems. She can’t walk far at all, even with a walker and husband assistance. She needs to nap by 11 each day.
I listened to all this and agreed. Then I countered with some offers: “I’ll save a close parking space for you. Kelsey has a guest room on the main floor where you can lie down at 11. You can watch from her air conditioned house if you wish.”
Rhonda didn’t want to mess up a bed, either by lying on the bedspread or by turning it down. I said I’d bring a sheet to put over it, which I did. I didn’t want to pressure her—just to meet her needs. She said she might come.
And she did! Here is her text to me this morning: “… You did not make me feel pressured, but I interpreted your phone call as inspired by the Holy Spirit. Because I had been praying about that problem and then you called! Listen, when God and the Holy Spirit start doing things in your life, it shakes you up! I love you so much!”
We were happy to host our international friends (some, our readers) Ruan, Juan, Qian, Mohamed, Kariman, Omar, and Alya to celebrate our country’s birthday. I think they had a good time. Food was brought by nearly everyone who came, so we had a delightful spread. The Americans brought traditional Fourth of July cookout food, but Qian brought fried dumplings, Juan brought cherries and strawberries, and Kariman brought an Egyptian dessert similar to kanafe, unexpected but welcome. Both homemade delicacies were delicious!
I was pleased to have most of our family there, though Stephen and Finn were at church camp. Josh and Gina and children came over from Lafayette, Indiana, and it was great to be with everyone. They can’t recall when they’ve been in the States for July 4, due to mission trips and teaching abroad. Gina was all decked out in red, white, and blue, and Kelsey made time to redo her design on her radiation mark.
When we were getting everything together to take to Kelsey’s, I thought, “This is too much trouble for her and for us. I’m not doing this next year.”
And by the time it was over and we were heading home, our car loaded, Steve said, “I think we should not make homemade ice cream next year. It’s not worth it.”
I agreed heartily. It’s just not the treat it used to be when we were children. And we had so much other good food that it wasn’t needed. It’s a real pain for Steve when he could just be enjoying the day.
I thought about the parade and the pride shown in our little town. I thought of the international students and their enjoyment. I thought of two of my grandchildren celebrating the Fourth in America for the first time in years. I thought about how much Rhonda enjoyed it. I just kept thinking.
So maybe I will organize it again next year. Everyone seemed to have such a great time. I keep thinking of Rhonda’s words: “Listen, when God and the Holy Spirit start doing things in your life, it shakes you up!”
We’ll see what I’m thinking when June comes back around. Who knows—God and the Holy Spirit may start shaking me up!