Memories fill my heart and thoughts this morning as I sit here waiting for the day to wake up.
*As a child growing up our 4th of July's were spent like this:
Up at 3 a.m. to help Momma make scrambled egg sandwiches, and to fill the mason jars with water. Put those mason jars in the back of daddy's car, cover with a couple of heavy quilts.
Leave the house at 4 a.m. Get to nap on the way to the cornfield.
Wait in the car for that first light to break the darkness.
Eat our sandwiches.
Start picking corn. Usually we picked on halves - giving half to the owner of the field, and taking half home with us.
Hot and sticky work. I have gotten lost in the cornfield a time or two.
Pick a basket of corn, take it to the car, get a jar of water and drink it.
By the time we would finish picking, around 10 a.m., the baskets would be stacked at the back of the car, and there would only be 3 jars of water left.
Those last jars of water were the best, because it meant we were finished with the picking.
Daddy would stack the baskets in the trunk, and we would head home.
Once home, Daddy would get the corn out of the car and begin to chop the ends off, putting it into a big galvanized tub. Momma and I would then shuck and silk it.
But before I started that, it was my job to make sure the jars were washed and ready to use.
Also my job to get the pots out that would be used for cooking the corn down, and to make sure all the kitchen towels were stacked so that we could get to them quickly and easily.
By noon we would have a good tub of corn ready to be cut off the cob. That was the fun part to me. :)
Cut it off the cob, and cook it down. Put it in the jars, then the jars into the pressure cooker.
While it was pressuring tho, we had to close the windows and turn off the fans. Any wind on the pressure cooker would make it fluctuate so much that it was dangerous. (Momma had already had one explode on her.)
While that first pot of corn was in the cooker, it was time for a bologna sandwich on the porch. I would go back into the house every 5 minutes or so and check the cooker to make sure it wasn't in the red.
Once the corn had pressured for 45 minutes, we would turn the cooker off and let it set until the pressure on the knob showed "0". Usually taking about an hour or so. Which gave us plenty of time get more shucked, silked, and cut off the cob to repeat the process.
Since corn doesn't keep well once it is picked, there was an urgency to the day.
Momma would tell her stories as we worked, and even Daddy would listen and occasionally add something.
There was always a time that afternoon, usually when that 2nd pressure cooker was turned off, that we would cut into the watermelons.
Then after Daddy had gotten all the ends cut off, he would gather the things needed to make homemade ice cream! I can still hear the squeak of the handle as he turned it.
Mouth watering knowing how cold it would be.
Sometimes it was peach ... sometimes berry ... sometimes simply vanilla.
But always good - and cold!
We would work like this until around midnight.
Most of the time the 300 - 400 ears of corn would be finished, but on occasion we had a few left to do the following day.
This was my 4th of July growing up.
When Rick and I got married, the 4th of July was different.
It was his Grandpa and Granny McCoy's anniversary. Everyone gathered at their house for food and cake and ice cream, with lots of laughter and much love.
Then in the evening it was time for fireworks. Rick would always find the best fireworks display for us to go to.
After Grandpa and Granny were gone, if we were close enough, we would gather in at Rick's parents' home and enjoy a cook-out with homemade ice cream following.
Those years that we were away, it was usually a time for quiet conversations and naps, watch a movie or two, he would always grill something for supper, and of course - Ice Cream :D
Oh the memories that flood my thoughts today ... make me smile.