In 1976, I was in high school. Centennial celebrations are a big deal. Imagine the chance to celebrate anything that’s been around 100 years. A celebration for basically the birth of one’s country is something a person doesn’t usually forget. And yet, I have. I don’t remember much about the 4th of July that year. Why? Because it was all a bunch of pomp and circumstance. Nothing profoundly personal happened to me. I didn’t fall in love. I didn’t lose a loved one. I didn’t achieve anything monumental. It was just another holiday. A holiday that isn’t particularly my favorite.
I suspect that people won’t remember Trump’s little foray into a celebration focused all on him, either. He wants them to because that’s what narcissists are all about. I believe that the only holiday’s people remember are the ones that have something profoundly personal attached to them or when a memory is triggered by a question from a loved one.
My wife asked me how we celebrated the 4th as kids. She wanted to know if we did the traditional bar-b-que. I had to laugh and said I usually was in Baltimore during the summers as a kid and we would always gather with my very large extended Italian family at my Aunt Rose’s. Here’s the funny thing. I don’t remember bar-b-que foods at all. I’m sure they were there, but what I do specifically remember is homemade pizza, pasta, and other uniquely Italian dishes. There was always a ton of food, just not the typical bar-b-que fare. After she asked the question, a memory surfaced of one of my cousins showing us the secret of making pizza. He drizzled olive oil on top and winked at us.
I don’t like loud noises and neither do my animals. I’m also quite the cynic and maintain that once you’ve seen fireworks, it’s the same old, same old, so why would I try to stay up to watch. My wife and I laugh about not ever making it to midnight each year when celebrating New Year’s. The same is true for the 4th. We are usually early to bed and early to rise. Living so far North, it doesn’t get dark until ten and so the fireworks are normally much later.
That brings me to the one other time I specifically remember a 4th of July celebration. My wife and I decided to see our favorite band play in the park and then the fireworks would follow. We were so damned proud of ourselves for staying up late and for once in the whole fifteen years together, we watched the fireworks. That, I am sure, I will always remember. We giggled like teenagers, patting ourselves on the back for partying until the wee hours. Well, the wee hours for us!
Portions of stories or books have the same effect on me. I only remember those things that have a profoundly personal link or are something a little more than the same old, same old. For me to remember a book, it has to touch me or touch a personal memory in me. That is not to say, I don’t enjoy reading all the other books I cannot recall. I do. It’s the same with holidays. I enjoy my holidays. I just don’t always remember them.
I’ve often said, being a commercial success isn’t really the ultimate prize for me when writing a book. The ultimate goal is creating a story that people will remember. I’ve been told a few of my books have done that. If you want to check them out, by all means, click on one of the links now! And don’t forget that two of my books and two of my short stories are on Kindle Unlimited! Others are on sale at rock bottom prices like $3.00 – $4.00.
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