The watercolor painting was done by my friend Janet Smith. It is of me, at La Jolla Cove, one July 4th, in the mid 90’s.
It feels odd having a holiday right smack in the middle of the week, but I’ll take it. Meanwhile, it feels very much like a Saturday.
There will be friends, food and festivity later today, as we have been invited to our friends’, the Nichols, house. More than likely there will be our usual circle of friends, along with their extended family.
I am reminded of numerous 4ths of July, back in the 90’s where we would all congregate somewhere like La Jolla Cove, making sure we got a prime spot very early — around 7:00 a.m. — so we could catch the fireworks that evening. I, myself, being the McMartha Stewart, would pack a large picnic basket, plus all kinds of “essentials,” which would require a couple trips to and from the car.
I had (and still have) all kinds of whimsy watermelon accessories — many plastic, and perfect for picnics. Watermelon wine glass, anyone? I was on it. And what better vessel to tote it all in, but a large basket shaped like a watermelon wedge?
My specialty back then was a very large caprese sandwich, made on homemade, herbed focaccia bread, slathered with pesto and of course packed with tomatoes and mozzarella, then baked, so the cheese melted somewhat. I would cut it into squares, and there was usually enough for not only us, but also a few strangers sitting nearby, who happily devoured it.
I would also make an avocado soup, and bring it in a thermos to keep it cool. Everyone contributed meats, salads, chips, cookies; the usual 4th of July fare. There was also plenty of libations, as this was back when you could still drink at the beach (I miss those days).
The day was fun and festive, and you could not have asked for a more beautiful venue, there at the cove, looking out on the ocean, and surrounded by a zillion festive like-minds as yourself.
After the fireworks you had the fun of carting everything back to the car, and then the even more fun adventure of trying to get out of La Jolla. We would leave La Jolla around 9:00, and sometimes not get home until close to midnight.
As much as I enjoyed all the prep-work and the day itself, the hassle of trying to get home after the fireworks just wasn’t worth it after a few years. But back then there were children amongst our circle of friends, so camping out where you could see fireworks later was simply what you did, no questions asked.
Let’s suffice it to say I like to keep things much simpler now. I like it when the fireworks find me, wherever I happen to be; and if I don’t catch any on the 4th, it is still a good day.
Last year we actually caught small bursts of the Big Bay fireworks display from the second story of our house. The fact that we could actually see them — however distant — from our home somehow made them one of the best displays ever. Perhaps with fireworks it’s not always about grandeur; it’s more about perspective.
Anyway, I am looking forward to Gwen & Joe Nichols’ party later today. I’m bringing a pasta salad and a bottle of chardonnay. The kids are all grown, so the whole fireworks deal more than likely isn’t the same prerequisite for the holiday. If there happens to be a display visible from the balcony off Gwen & Joe’s bedroom, the most effort anyone will have to make to see it, is a small trek upstairs.
But we will be home before dark, as we don’t want our dogs to freak out from the distant popping. Besides, we may have our own display to watch.
Have a safe and happy Independence Day, everyone!!