Fireworks have begun in our neighborhood. We were entertained, startled, then annoyed at the rumblings and booms last night. The noise did seem to end by 10 p.m. to allow a quiet time for sleep. This promises to be a pleasant week with temperatures in the low 80’s and only a small chance of a shower or two.

We stay at home during the week’s celebrations, though one year Bloomington had a parade that passed our way. When my parents were living, we sometimes went to Gaylord where the 4th of July activities included a parade, band concert by the Over 60 Band where Dad played the clarinet, and fireworks in a park a block from my childhood home. That park is now a national historical site, and that pleases me. It has always been a special part of my history.

Mom loved picnics, and we’d pack a lunch, walk a block to picnic tables in an oak woods by the lake. That park, with its trails, wild flowers, and little caves beside the lake, made for adventures only children can design and enjoy. We were explorers, on a scientific treasure hunt, or simply kids looking for a secret place to claim. The lake has a small island where Native American artifacts – shards of pottery, arrowheads, remnants of animal bones – have recently been found. In our long-ago imaginings, we discovered those things.

Memories become more and more significant as I grow older, and they become more tender. I had a Beaver Cleaver or Opie Taylor kind of childhood. I have only good recollections of those early years. Not a bad problem to have.