**I wrote this in 1989 as a tribute to my grandparents and in celebration of their 50th wedding anniversary. Being back at the lake this week, I found this forgotten memoir.
Fourth of July
The serenity of the lake, with it’s diamond-like sparkle is rudely interrupted by the splashing and giggling of grandchildren playing in its shallow waters. The childish adventure is echoed through the screaming of “Marco–Polo”, as the children play their version of hide-and-seek in the cool lake. On the lakeshore sit parents and grandparents watching their youngsters as they play… enjoying the carefree day away from the demands of the world. As they sit and chat, they are keenly aware of the littlest children romping around the water’s edge… the older children as they bob up and down in the water… and the boats that move swiftly by.
“Meema”, as she has been lovingly dubbed by a small granddaughter, who couldn’t quite pronounce “grandma”, is hardly relaxed. Back and forth she runs into the house making sure that lunch is coming along well and that everyone is taken care of. Just as she stids down in the refreshing shade of the cottonwoods, she thinks of “just one more thing” that must be done, and up she goes again into the house to find a disposable dish for a grandson… who, in the process of going fishing, needs a container for his bait that he “found” under Grandma’s rose bush.
Soon the peacefulness of the shade is broken by the preparations for lunch. Picnic tables and benches replace lawn chairs as mothers bring out the potato chips, condiments, and salads and fathers huddle over the grill adding the finishing touches to the already blackened hamburgers. Grandchilden are summoned in from their frolicking in the water… dripping and hungry, the children line up along the picnic tables as they survey the provisions set before them. As the whole family joins hands, they bow their heads to thank their Creator for the blessings He has given them. The last syllable of “amen” has not even left their lips when everyone “digs in.” For a brief moment, chaos prevails as the parents try to make sure all of the youngsters are content before filling their own plates. A satisfied hush hovers over the table as each person fills themselves to the rim. Soon all the burgers and salads are gone. Just as the fathers begin to push themselves away from the table and the children start thinking of something to do for a half hour before swimming, an aunt brings out the pie and Grandma’s “junk cookies”. Moans and groans accompany the second and third helpings of pie piled onto the plates. The general consensus is summed up in the words, “I am so full, I could burst!”
None too soon after the final leftovers have been put away and the last dish wiped and put it its respective place, the first grandchild wanders in and mentions the word “hungry”. Out come the pies, the plates and the forks once again, as one by one, the rest of the grandchildren straggle in. Not too far behind are the fathers and grandfather to begin on their fourth and fifth pieces.
The remaining aftertoon light is spent as the children once again play their favorite water games and the parents fill each other in on the latest family gossip. Listening in the shade, Grandma and Grandpa just can’t seem to get enough. They tune themselves in to every grandchild as they yell from the lake, “Lookitme, Grandma!” or “Watch this, Grandpa!”
The setting sun begins to reflect on the lake as mothers run around finding towels, shorts, shoes and kids. Children slowly come in from the lake with frowns and groans of “why can’t we stay as long as we like? Grandma doesn’t mind. She said we could stay ‘as long as we liked’!” Above the children’s groans, fathers yell for one more “potty break” and begin herding the children to the cars. Hugs for Grandpa and Grandma and handshakes and pats on the back stall for a few more minutes together. Soon, though, all cars pull out and head for home.
Once again, solitude prevails over the lake and Grandma and Grandpa take time to readjust as they watch the sun set over the lake. Just as each is refecting to themselves, “I wish they could come more often,” a small child pipes from a backseat, “I left my shoes at Grandmas!”