Fourth of July

Happy 241st birthday, America!  So many memories from childhood, fireworks displays back in the mid-west, to parades, hot dogs on the grill, and bands playing patriotic marches of Sousa songs.  Those memories bring a tug at the heart and a thankfulness to those who have secured our freedoms in America after sacrificing their lives for this country.

More memories…..Forty-one years ago today my fisherman-husband and I  attended a church service in my hometown of Fort Wayne, Indiana.  The church was built in the 1800’s and was filled that morning with patriotic worshipers and cameras.  It was the bicentennial of America, and the service was broadcast all over the world.

During that festive service, I noticed my pregnant body was beginning to give me signals that the child within me may be arriving soon!  This was a surprise, since that baby wasn’t due until July 18th!  The cameras in the sanctuary were rolling as my labor took on its own urgency.

Fortunately, the service ended and I could waddle out of the church without a scene happening in front of the photographers’ lenses.  Thinking my contractions were false labor, we ate our shrimp lunch that my mother prepared.  But our baby was persistent.  Realizing this was the real thing, we dashed home, packed a quick bag, and tried to drive through the middle of town to the hospital. 

The road to our destination was blocked!  Of course, it was the 4th of July parade!  The town filled the streets with flags flying, people cheering, bands playing….but no clear path for us to continue.  The fisher-husband started flashing the headlights and honking his horn as he nervously maneuvered around the patriotic crowd.  And I groaned as the labor pains became increasingly intense.

Somehow, by the grace of God, we arrived in time at Lutheran Hospital. I was wisked away in a wheelchair, as the frantic husband ran down the hallway, donning his scrubs, one-leg-then-the-other-hop-along-style, to the delivery room.

His precious daughter entered the world that evening just as the fireworks in the city boomed in the sky, announcing the birth of our Joy, our bicentennial baby.

When this amazing first-born of ours was very young, she was sure all of America was celebrating her birthday with the special festivities. 

America and Joy, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

With love,

Mom (Kathy)


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