ENJOYING INDEPENDENCE DAY WITH FAMILY


The Fourth of July is certainly an important celebration in this very patriotic family... and it is just as important because it is celebrated with family. We had such a good time with the Paultons, Brovants, Lillys and Stolhammers yesterday at Grandma Ellen Paulton’s place. And yes, we played our traditional softball game.

ANOTHER RAINY AND DAMP "FOURTH"

Another rainy and damp "Fourth Of July".

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You are right... There are not many like this and perhaps you do not even recall an Independence Day Observance where it "rained on the parade". One stands out in my mind and that was forty years ago. July 4, 1979 overshadowed by much more than clouds and falling rain. It was just over a month before that my brothers, Lyle and Lee, and our friend, Wayne, passed away in what the world termed a tragedy.

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Now our family has always enjoyed the festivities of the Fourth. The ranch was the setting for many holiday celebrations. I can recall so many good times with family and friends. Like when, Grandma Hazel Reinhold and Aunt Ila brought us boys our first firecrackers. I had heard many stories about shenanigans with "cherry bombs"... but we started out with Black Cat Lady Fingers. We would carefully lay one at a time on the step, light it carefully and then run like the dickens.

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As we got older we started having big parties, mainly with families from church. There was a huge firework exhibition on top of the Big Dam. I was impressed and I looked forward to the day, when I would be the one lighting them off.

And then the celebrations began to last all day. The first one that I recall started early in the morning. The Keeney family was there bright and early. Janet made Æbleskiver, a Danish "cake" for breakfast. And when the Crossman family showed up, we could hardly believe our eyes. Ed brought out "bunches" of pop in a bottles. This was not Shasta in can, but real pop like 7UP and Orange Crush. Yes there were plenty of "orange mustaches" on little kids that day. :) They put all that pop on the shady side of the house in wash tubs packed with ice. We probably drank more pop that one day than we did the rest of the year. :)

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And then there were these crazy "Grownups" that were such good examples when it came to firecrackers. Do you remember the "Chasers"? My mom could tell you plenty of stories of being the "target" of those loud whistling with report Chinese creations. :)

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As we became teenagers, our celebrations started the night before. We camped on the peak.. we camped on the pontoon... Many memorable times. Bottle rocket shot from the highest point on the ranch made very little noise. And sleeping on the pontoon in the middle of the night in the middle of the lake presented interesting situations for a bunch of boys. I won't go into detail on that. :)

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One thing proved normal in this tradition... we always ate well. Of course we continued to look for more creative ways to do firecrackers and bottle rockets. 1000 firecrackers going off all nearly all at once was impressive. And then when our friend, Doug Foley lit over 400 bottle rockets at one time after we lined up the fuses around the outside of a coffee can... I can still hear Mrs. Foley saying, "Oh Dougie, Dougie, Dougie". :) Of course that was music to our ears. :)

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One family that was always a part of the celebrations was the Stokka Family. Pastor and Mrs, Stokka were amazing people. And their kids were so much a part of our lives for years. Our parents always encouraged us to have good friends.. these people filled the bill.

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But in 1979, there was little desire to celebrate. And to top it off this Fourth Of July was rainy. It was decided to meet together at the Church building in Rapid City. Oh yes, we still ate well, but the solemness was so out the ordinary. My Dad and Mom went for a walk to see the flowers in Halley Park in downtown Rapid City. When they came back, three young college age guys were with them. One was named Hans... I don't recall the others, but I do remember that these young men were passing time while waiting for a bus to continue on their journey across America. They were from Sweden, Norway and Germany. And what do three European guys do in America on the Fourth Of July? But so characteristic of Tige and Vicky, that even in sorrow, they reached out.

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The evening of the Fourth in 1979 still found us at the Ranch and a year or two later we had a Family camp at Rainbow Bible Ranch. Times have changed, the years have come and gone, many of the people from those times past have passed on to glory. I am thankful to say that the family did not become reclusive in those hard days. I am thankful that even in the storms and cloudy days, there have been rainbows. I am thankful that in Christ we can have joy even in the midst of pain.

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TO GOD BE THE GLORY, GREAT THINGS HE HAS DONE AND CONTINUES TO DO.

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But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

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BLESSINGS TO YOU ON THIS INDEPENDENCE DAY CELEBRATION... AND I'M PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN. :)
Larry B. Reinhold