For me, the Fourth of July has always conjured up memories of cook-outs, fireworks, and parades – endured in sweltering heat and dripping humidity. Although the celebration was more subdued, the meaning grew in significance when I spent a decade as an expatriate – commemorating America’s independence in nations taking their first shaky steps in freedom. And then, for the past nine summers, I’ve watched fireworks from a distance, reflected in the San Francisco Bay, while wearing fleece jackets and gloves, wrapped in blankets, and still shivering. Some years I only heard the boom of the fireworks but couldn’t see a thing because of the thick fog, nature’s air conditioning.
This weekend I am once again celebrating the Fourth in a hot place. Thankfully there’s been a bit of a reprieve in the weather in this particular hot place lately. My husband and I have survived the coldest winter and the hottest June that anyone can remember in our town. Maybe it’s been a test to see how serious we are about being Tarheels. (We are.)
Whenever we told California friends that we were going to move to the Southeast, their response was always the same. "Ummm. . . do you know it’s humid there?"
Yes, we confidently assured them that we remembered humidity from our childhoods and, while it’s not pleasant, we’d be able to survive. It’s been a bit more of an adjustment than we counted on with our advanced age and creaking joints, but I’m too stubborn to admit that. Meanwhile, I’ll just sit in the shade, drink my sweet tea, and thank God, not only for the temporal freedom I enjoy as an American, but especially for the freedom He’s given me in His Son, which no one can ever take away.