Being Independent on Independence Day


It was Independence Day, a holiday, and somehow I had forgotten to plan any memorable activity. Everyone I encountered was meeting up with family, going to the beach, cooking summer food – they had a plan. I didn’t, which was very unlike me. I’ve just had other things on my mind and well, I forgot.

Fortunately I did find someone else with no plan. My mom was sitting in her living room trying to feel good about a day in front of the TV or reading her book. She claimed not to mind, but I knew differently. Being in the same predicament, we decided to do as all strong, independent women do – we made our own plan for our memorable 4th of July.

This is a hotdog to die for, so good.

Since food is a prime feature of all our fun, memorable times, we started with food. Hot dogs. We both love a good hot dog and Mom, especially, has to have some texture and crunch in hers. We made some coleslaw and loaded the dog up real good. And watermelon, the perfect summer food. I always remember the gorilla who could sign words and decided to call watermelon “candy water”, which is so true.

We wanted something a little more active than eating to balance out our day and, you’re not going to believe this, we decided to go up to Lake Namekagon, a picturesque place with a favorite resort and restaurant that we like to visit – called Garmisch.

We go several times a year to the restaurant but I had never been out on the water there, so we decided that would be an appropriately adventurous thing to do, maybe a jaunt on a wave runner or kayak? You would be surprised at what my mom will do given the right amount of encouragement.

Wave runners are machines – the kind that I would normally avoid because they malfunction regularly. But they can be rented and presumed to be reliable. They can actually be rented at a marina fairly close to our location. They even can be rented with a trailer and transported to the lake of your choice. Let’s just say we did that.

Did you know that there are police on lakes, especially on holidays like the 4th of July? There are also rules about which lakes allow different kinds of boating and which do not. These rules are good things to know. We know them now.

I hitched up the trailer to my truck and we made the half hour trip to Lake Namekagon without incident. There is always a bit of a rush when I’m doing something I haven’t done before, something adventurous that I’m hoping will go off without a hitch. I was definitely feeling it.

Unloading a wave runner into the water is really simple. I’ve watched it done several times and had no trouble with it. Getting on is not too hard. Even operating it is fairly intuitive, especially for people who don’t want to go fast or do tricks. That describes me and mom perfectly. We like to stay close to shore and look at houses and people. Maybe that’s what made us look peculiar to the water police, I don’t know.

So, I will always be thankful that we did this before having dinner at Garmisch restaurant because there was not a trace of alcohol anywhere on us. There are also rules about that. We were just two white haired ladies trolling the lakeshore on a lake where power boats are prohibited, a fairly minor offense to my way of thinking. And the man questioning us kind of thought so too, as his warning was given gently and his fine was small (in comparison to other fines, I guess…).

We had enough of our adventure at that point anyway. After loading up the wave runner and taking it back to the marina, we went home and pretended we’d been doing jigsaw puzzle and watching TV all afternoon. Nobody had to know. Just sayin’…

I’m thinking about and practicing writing fiction these days. There might be some parts of this story which are fictionalized.

Dawn’s early light, twilight’s last gleaming…

I’ve always been in love with light. 

I was looking out on the oneacrewoods this evening as a storm approached. The house started to creak and pop as the metal roof contracted. That’s always my first sign that it’s cooling off and something is about to happen. We were surrounded by trees, large oaks that covered most of the sky and left only peep holes to show how dark the sky had become. When the wind came, like a moving wall, the trees went wild, grabbing at each other. It always looks scary to me – I can’t believe those large limbs can move so violently and not break. It passed rather quickly without raining. Dramatic but dry.

But it left the sky looking glorious in every direction. We saw it as we went out for our evening walk. My Instagram is full of #eveningwalk pictures because of the light. It’s the light’s fault. The evening light, call it twilight’s last gleaming if you want, is magic. It has that in common with the dawn’s early light, which also comes in sideways, horizontal to the things it touches. Things that aren’t really shiny, shine. Leaves glow green like they are electrified, lit through and through, more translucent than you would ever think.

Even the fence went reflective with tiny points of light.


We seemed to be right under a “cloud hole” with the fading evening sky above us. Tall billowing stacks of white were outlined in the west with the setting sun dancing through them, and eastward the departing blackness of the storm, with a rainbow. Every direction showed a different sky picture, all dramatic and compelling and picturesque. Even after the sun was no longer visible, it’s light was reflecting off the cloud cover and lighting our way with an eerie, amber cast.


With all this to look at, and more, my phone/camera ran out of battery. So, as I walked, I started thinking about how my fascination with the late light, and the early light, fit right in with Independence Day and the words to the national anthem. What that must have been like to have been there seeing the flag through the twilight’s last gleaming. Seeing it all night by the light of rockets being fired in battle, and then to see it still there in the dawn’s early light – probably a bit tattered and the worse for wear, but still in place.


I think it’s a little ironic in these days when we are dependent on so many things beyond our control, that we can still find meaning in the word independence. We almost worship the concept, without really thinking of the good aspects of dependence on the right things. This holiday is a good time to review the freedoms we have, to review who and what we should depend on, and to celebrate the outcome of that long ago conflict.

Happy July to all, and an early Happy 4th!