Declaring My Dependence
By Kathi Macias –
June and July have always been my favorite months. I don’t know if it’s because they fall in the middle of the year or I just like the weather, but these two months tend to put a smile on my face.
June makes sense. After all, when you’re young, June means school is out and summer vacation begins, and it doesn’t get much better than that. But July kicks it up a notch for me, starting with all the celebrations associated with the Fourth.
Now I have to say that my husband grills the best steaks and tri-tips this side of anywhere, but my personal Fourth of July picnic-and-barbecue memories have made me a hamburger-and-hot-dog kind of girl. Even though we often went on Memorial Day outings at the end of May, the REAL summer activities didn’t seem to kick off until the Fourth. That’s when the company my dad worked for had these incredible picnics at the park that we kids looked forward to all year. There was dirt everywhere, so our mothers gave up yelling at us to stay out of it. Even better, there was a little stream that ran through the park—not deep enough that those same mothers forbade us to go near it, but just deep enough to be swarming with pollywogs. You wouldn’t believe how many of those disgusting little critters we’d scoop up into old canning jars filled with dirty water from the stream. Then we’d carry them home as trophies, swearing we’d take care of them and not let them die this year.
Another highlight of the annual outing was the food itself. All the moms brought their specialties, from potato salad to brownies to baked beans. Plus we all got to help make the ice cream, which was mouthwateringly good. But the meat was my favorite part. This is where I fell madly in love with barbecued hot dogs and hamburgers, because the only other alternative was venison steak. When I found out that venison was deer meat (which happened only weeks after my parents took us to the drive-in to see “Bambi”), I swore I’d never touch venison—ever! Thankfully the cooks offered the hot-dog-and-hamburger alternative, and those two items soon became my barbecue staples.
Of course, the best part of those Fourth of July celebrations came when the company picnic ended and the sun went down. That’s when we all piled into our cars and headed for a nearby spot where we could park in rows in the dirt, sit on the hoods of our vehicles or on blankets spread on the ground, and watch the FREE firework display. As we oohed and aahed that it was the best show ever, we were reminded—by many of the adults in attendance—that the glorious colors exploding in the sky were more than just spectacular entertainment. At least one parent always retold just enough of the story of America’s independence to keep the oohing and aahing in perspective.
“Freedom isn’t free,” someone would say. “Many paid a great price so you could sit here and enjoy all this. Some even gave their lives. You should always be thankful.”
I can’t help but wonder if that’s the reason I so love this time of year, and I’m sure it has a lot to do with it. But something else happened one July—the 5th, as a matter of fact, clear back in 1974—that made this June/July season even more special for me.
It was the day I met Jesus, the day I declared not my independence, but my dependence, on the One who paid the greatest price imaginable so that I could be set free—not just here on earth, but forever with the Father.
And that puts it all in eternal perspective, doesn’t it?