By Laura Moore
My husband humored me as I filled July 3rd and July 4th with a steady stack of commitments, and he very kindly chose not to mock my bizarre giddiness (even though I probably deserved it). Instead, we spent the days together as a family, interacting with other families, relishing in the old-fashioned, idealistic outpouring of community that makes me love this holiday so very much.
I'm not sure when my love affair with the Fourth of July started, but I do know I first realized it was perhaps a little weird in 1996, during my freshman year in college.
"After you give your name and where you're from, tell us your favorite holiday," our group leader said, introducing the icebreaker activity we would begin with before moving to other tougher challenges.
"Hanukkah," or "Halloween," or "Thanksgiving," a few people chimed, but most people said "Christmas," and their responses seemed to bespeak a certain superiority, a superiority that to be perfectly honest, shocked the heck out of me as it garnered steam around the circle.
But it's cold during Christmas, I thought, and that single, solitary fact seemed like sufficient justification for why we should debunk it from its place atop the Ivory Tower of holiday celebrations.
No one else seemed to be on the same page.
Stunned, I sat and listened to each reply, and when the girl beside me added her tick mark to the ever-growing list of Christmas lovers, I swallowed, half wondering if people forgot about the Fourth of July, or if they really felt that an icy, cold holiday in the middle of December was truly better.
When the turn to speak landed on my lap, I gave my name and my hometown location; then I decided to be bold. "Fourth of July," I said with a confidence that apparently should have wavered given the facial reaction of those huddled around me.
Lips blossomed into a shocked half-smile.
A brief silence enveloped me and made me wonder whether or not I heard the instructions correctly, whether or not I had misinterpreted the entire activity.
"That's interesting," the group leader said, insufficiently muffling a burgeoning bout of laughter. "Why is the Fourth of July your favorite holiday?"
Through a series of rambling fragmented thoughts, I attempted to produce a vivid picture of why the Fourth of July was so undeniably fantastic.
"Well, first you have the fireworks," I began, but I neglected to adequately articulate why Columbus' Red, White and Boom was impressive or fun or a decisive piece of evidence in my growing case for holiday superiority. I failed to mention the laser lights, or the shapes they choreographed to the music, or the bands or the river-side picnicking or the partying that invariably followed. Instead, flustered, without any sort of transitional warning, I began to tout my hometown parade.
"And we have this parade at 9am on the 4th--its' actually the longest non-commercial parade in the country," I started, but I could tell the idea of waking up at 9 am for a parade that featured the OSU Alumni Band, fighter jets and floats containing droves of your friends did not seem at all appealing, so I jumped to the city-wide explosion of cookouts, the pool parties, the yard games, the mingling with strangers, the baseball diamond cluttered with old friends, the bands, the dancing, the local fireworks display that was arguably better than the city one, the post parties....
But none of it seemed to sway anyone away from the month of December, from the snow and the ice, from the presents beneath the tree.
So I stopped.
"Well, I guess you just have to be there," I said, finally, trying to reestablish a little credibility. "You know, I think Christmas is pretty cool too."