Family Fun on the Fourth


Image from Deposit Photos

This week, our resident hound asked about Fourth of July celebrations. Specifically, about large celebrations with extended family. When I first noted the topic, I thought this would be an extremely short post, because I have very few extended family members who are Americans. Other than one uncle and two cousins, no one outside my immediate family would have any reason to celebrate the American Independence. I have vague memories of my brothers and me standing in our yard twirling sparklers around. Other than our parents, no one else was there. We didn’t travel anywhere to see fireworks.

When I went to college, I spent two summers taking classes in Illinois, so of course I was away from my family. I spent the morning of the holiday marching in a parade with the Bloomington Municipal Band.

After college, my membership in the musician’s union earned me a spot in various band performances during the summer, including fireworks concerts at a nearby lake. Sometimes members of my family would join the crowds assembled to watch the concerts and the fireworks display afterward.


Our oldest daughter and son-in-law love to entertain!

When I married, my extended family grew, but not by much. My husband’s family is small (he has one brother), and his local extended family consisted only of two aunts. Everyone else lived in either Indiana or Arizona. We never got together for the Fourth of July. We took our kids to see local fireworks displays, but that was the extent of our celebration. One year, my brother and his wife brought their girls to Grand Rapids for the holiday and we watched the city fireworks together.


Our middle daughter and her family enjoy the celebration.

It wasn’t until our five children grew up and started their own families that our holidays started to become more populated. Our eldest daughter married an energetic and successful businessman who loves to entertain. Around ten years ago, they began to throw Fourth of July parties at their home. Everyone brought a dish to pass, but the gathering wasn’t just about food. They hired a band, had activities and goodie bags for all the children, set up lawn games for the older kids and adults, and arranged for things like a popcorn wagon one year IMG_0272and a chocolate fountain the next year. Scott, our son-in-law, enjoys setting off fireworks, and he embraced the opportunity to host a party to which EVERYONE was invited – family, co-workers, friends, and friends of friends! He has a large extended family, all of whom live nearby, so it’s fortunate that they own several acres of land for their annual bash.

IMG_0365The all-inclusive gatherings discontinued when a few people who’d been invited by extended family did some extensive damage to the home’s plumbing (Why would anyone try to flush a diaper?). This year, we have no plans to get together, but our pool and backyard are available in case some of our family want to come and cool off from the record high temps we’re having. Our five children have given us nine grandkids and two great-grandkids, so we’re starting to grow, but for now we enjoy still being able to remember everyone’s names.



About Patricia Kiyono

During her first career, Patricia Kiyono taught elementary music, computer classes, elementary classrooms, and junior high social studies. She now teaches music education at the university level. She lives in southwest Michigan with her husband, not far from her five children, nine grandchildren (so far), and great-granddaughters. Current interests, aside from writing, include sewing, crocheting, scrapbooking, and music. A love of travel and an interest in faraway people inspires her to create stories about different cultures. Check out her sweet historical contemporary romances at her Amazon author page:
This entry was posted in author's life, Family, Fourth of July, Holiday, holidays, Patricia Kiyono, traditions and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Family Fun on the Fourth

  1. Jeff Salter says:

    It’s a shame that your son-in-law’s sizable and fun gatherings ended on a sour note (diaper down the toilet). Makes me wonder if it was deliberate — since nearly every large crowd has at least one person intent on making other folks miserable if possible.
    Oh well.
    Those prior gatherings sound like a blast — figuratively and literally — but I know a LOT of work went into pulling them off successfully. There’s an art — dare I say, a “calling” — to being able to entertain on a scale like that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      The gatherings were indeed special, Jeff. It’s too bad they had to discontinue. We’ve speculated about whether someone was being malicious, or simply lacking in active brain cells. I agree, it takes a certain type of people to entertain large crowds. Fortunately. Scott and Amy still host the annual Father’s Day cookout, and that’s a lot of fun.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What a shame that a few ruined it for the rest. Those gatherings sounded like they were very enjoyable.
    Small gatherings and celebrations are sometimes far more enjoyable than the large gatherings. The atmosphere tends to be more receptive to actually carrying on conversations and just enjoying the company of loved ones.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      I guess I’m more accustomed to smaller gatherings. But the big parties were fun, too, because we knew most of the people and there was so much room that we could still have conversations with whomever we wanted.


  3. I am going to assume the diaper business was because it was stinky and they were embarrassed, which would have been far less embarrassing than ruining plumbing.
    You have a gem for a son-in-law! Sounds like great food, friends, family. (Get it?) LOL!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      I had the same suspicion, Tonette. Maybe it was a young mom who had absolutely no concept of the consequence of plugging things up – especially with a disposable diaper, which expands so much when wet.


    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      And yes, I get it!


  4. Jeff Salter says:

    … and Happy Birthday to our Monday Fox.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Elaine Cantrell says:

    Happy Birthday, Patty! Your son-in-law sounds like a fun person. I’m sorry the event got cancelled.

    Liked by 1 person

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