Fireflies, fireworks and a barbecue! This 4th of July is going to be very different from last year’s. Then, we were cooped up indoors, masked and gowned, fearful, while a pandemic raged outside. COVID-19 took its toll. The body count ticked steadily up. This year, vaccinated and confident, the pandemic under control, we are ready to live again. So, fire up the grill and let the party begin!
The weather was the only uncertainty. July 2 and 3 were overcast with occasional drenching thunderstorms. I kept my eye on the forecast. July 4 turned out clear. That was a blessing. I lowered my patio awning, removed the grill cover, cleaned it and double checked the propane tank. It was half-full. Enough for today.
A quick shower caught me by surprise, but it was brief. The sun returned in all its glory and soon everything was warm and dry. The grass was green with all the recent rain, the sky blue with fluffy cotton-clouds and the temperature, a balmy 78 degrees Fahrenheit. In a word, picture perfect for an outdoor barbecue. What a way to celebrate a family get-together! Our son and his girlfriend were visiting us over the holiday weekend and my wife and I were looking forward to celebrating with them.
The menu was simple but hearty. We started with cheese followed by grilled shrimp and corn on the cob washed down with an Allgash Tripel, nicely chilled. We leisurely enjoyed these as I barbecued the chicken thighs which my wife had marinated using her own, unique recipe. We sat down to dinner as the sun was setting.
Venus shone bright, low in the western sky, reflecting the setting summer sun. I uncorked a bottle of rosé. The lovely pink color and bouquet was perfect for a summer evening and paired well with the grilled meat, vegetables and quinoa.
It slowly grew darker. Fireflies appeared. We had fun tracing their intermittently glowing flight patterns. We had dessert; home baked cake slathered in chocolate sauce, ice cream and a dollop of shrikhand.
Soon it was time for fireworks, the hallmark of Independence Day celebrations throughout the land. There were a few preliminary booms and then the skies around us lit up in a spectacular display. It was almost as if everyone was intent on making up for the deprivations of last year.
Even children in our development had their own fireworks in the open area. We could hear their excited cries and the oohs and aahs. The displays came to a close with the grand finale, a sequence of exquisitely timed, large, multicolored starbursts.
We could smell the burning cordite in the air. It was time to go indoors. What a lovely ending to an Independence Day barbecue.