Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Family festivities

Many people in my extended family on my mom's side got together for the Fourth of July this year. Celebrating the Fourth of July together has become a tradition for us recently, but I've missed the event most years for various reasons — attending summer school, being out of the country, combinations of the above, etc. I think I have the bragging rights for greatest distance driven to attend the shindig this year: more than 700 miles. I might have had those rights in 2005 as well. If I don't own the title, I'm probably tied for it with an aunt, an uncle, and a pair of cousins — they live a few hours south of me, and depending on which roads they took, they could have covered as many miles in the car as I did.

We had a great time setting off our own fireworks, chatting, making homemade ice cream, eating delicious food, engaging in various recreational activities, going on a midnight donut run in a school bus, and having a corn roast. I was most involved with the corn roast (my personal favorite part of the festivities), and the role I played in it consisted of tending the fire with one of my great uncles for about five hours and trading witty comments with him and a few of my mom's cousins (and a few of their spouses and progeny) while waiting for the wood to turn to coals giving off the desired amount of heat and then roasting the corn to perfection. It was fun to hang out with this great uncle, who is one of my (deceased) grandfather's younger brothers. The two years that I've worked the bonfire with him, I have learned enough about building bonfires for this purpose that I might now be qualified enough to teach a course in them sometime. Possible names for this class that I've dreamed up include Corn Roast Bonfires 101, Culinary Pyromania & Pyrotechnics 331 (a topics class), etc..

The downside of helping with a bonfire is that since the aforementioned corn roast, I showered four times and washed my hair thrice (and with the most scented shampoo I could find) and still cannot get the smell of burning oak out of my hair or skin.