This year was definitely the most jam-packed of the 4th's we've ever had, but at the same time, it was so relaxing. We kicked off the holiday with the Dunwoody parade. It started at 9:00AM, so definitely dodged the heat of the day, but was hot nonetheless. It was a 2-hour parade and we came home sticky and in need of showers before starting round 2 of the day. I love the bands and the war veterans the best.
Then we headed to Monroe to Kasey's homestead. And I use this term because the Brown clan is, for the most part, all living in Monroe. Acres butt up against other family members' acres. Cousins and aunts and uncles are a four-wheeler ride away. The huge family enjoys the perks of being close in proximity to each other.
Grandpa's house has a pool and a picnic pavilion — kid heaven. We spent the afternoon eating ribs the men had cooked on an open firepit, some swam in the saline pool, and we sat around in lawn chairs and the many swings dotting the property. I didn't know but a handful of people, but the Browns have the gift of making everyone feel welcome. I moved from conversation cluster to conversation cluster, where silences were relished and felt as comfortable as the chattery moments and laughter that punctuated the Southern, slow summer day.
The ladder you see in the picture below leads up to a zip line. Like I said, kid heaven.
Grandpa's chair has "Do not move" written on the headrest. It is, most definitely, his chair and not to be messed with.
From there we went back to Kasey's house. I was in need of an afternoon nap before the evening doings, and Karen was more than happy to set me up in older brother Kyle's room. His room has a bay window and I napped for just under 2 hours, feeling like I was sleeping right under the sky.
Off to Monroe's Freedom Fest held at the high school football field. It's as small-town Americana at it gets. All the food was free (hot dogs, funnel cakes, sodas and waters, cotton candy, PB&J sandwiches), and people walked around to the various tents, camped out in chairs and on blankets on the grassy field, and listened to bands play on the stage (including our favorite Oswald Brothers Band and the ever popular Byron Chambers, aka Talkbox). The fireworks concluding the night were spectacular, and with every Fourth of July fireworks show, there's a connection one feels to all the others watching them on every other football field in a million small towns all over the U.S.A.