A Cranky Fourth of July
Mrs. C and I have spent the last four 4th of Julys in a basement apartment by the beach on the beautiful New Jersey Shore. Every year, along with Mrs. C’s Aunt, the owner of the main house, we host a bunch of relatives and friends for a day at the beach, a feast, and after desert, a seat on the beach again to view a fireworks extravaganza. Fireworks start around 9:00, and are a combination of professional shows, and amateur displays up and down the beach. It is a great day, a lot of fun, and a lot of agita.
Why the agita?
First it the food. The big worry is will there be enough food. There is always mass quantities of dogs, burgers, steak, chicken and veggies from the grill, plus what all the guests bring. I have learned, however, that in an Italian family it is not enough to feed everyone, there is only enough food if you can send everyone home with a “plate", a “plate” meaning leftovers which, “Will only go to waste!”
The next worry issue is parking. There is only parking for 10 cars, and there are always at least 15 cars coming down for the day.
The final cause of agita is getting space on the beach. The beach is crowded on the 4th and we have a big crowd, so we need a large space.
Mrs. C is the General of “Operation Parking Spaces,” and "Operation Secure The Beach."
The day starts off at 6am, when street parking is allowed. Mrs. C Supervises the moving of three cars from the driveway, into legal street parking slots. This must be done early, as Generals up and down the street who are also expecting guest are up to the same plan. You have to get up early to beat Mrs. C who has determined which cars will go to which spaces and practiced her operation for several days. Within minutes, “Operation Parking Spaces” is complete. Room for 10 cars in the driveway, three cars on the street, and two in illegal spots which block our driveway…as long as no one complains, the police will not ticket those spaces.
Shortly after “Operation Parking Spaces” is completed it is off to “Operation Secure The Beach.” Before other families claim the choice beach areas, Mrs. C has organized an army to bring down chairs and umbrellas to form and reserve a large circle just for our group. This operation is completed by 8 am.
All that is left, is a great day at the beach, grilling of mass quantities of food (everyone got a “plate”), a bit of drink, and then off to enjoy the fireworks.
This year along with Aunts, Uncles and cousins, there was an old family friend who came to the US from Hungary when he was 16 and fled the Russian tanks that were sent to put down the Hungarian Revolution. There was a professional ballroom dancer from the Ukraine, his fiancé partner from the UK, and the girlfriend of a cousin who was from South Korea.
So, this Italian family who many years ago started and continue to run a successful bakery which funded this lovely beach house, along with some mostly Irish cousins, this cranky old WASP, and citizens, or future citizens from four other diverse areas of the world, stood together and watched a spectacular fireworks display which celebrates the freedom and hope which this great country provides.
It kinda makes the agita worthwhile.