The other night, E was telling our old neighbor, who was in town for a visit, that the 4th of July is the high holy holiday of our friendship. Although I had never thought of it in those terms, I knew she was right.
Since we all met, the 4th (or a reasonable proximity) has been the weekend for crazy friend trips. And we are crazy friends: E and I, college friends & roommates, married former Marines & roommates. To say that your husband’s best friend married your best friend might seem a little too Pleasantville, but to us, it’s extremely cool.
So, back to the 4th: it was 2003 (oy vey!), and 2 hippie girls and 3 marines packed a truck full of beer cans and drove from Pennsylvania to New York to reap the deposit (and yes, this was a Seinfeld plot).
We took our $1.50 up to Niagara and watched the fireworks burst above the dimly lit falls, then collapsed in a KOA tent along a bustling rail. A noisy, wonderful night.
Fast forward to 2004: Craft Husband/then Craft Boyfriend had moved back to Oklahoma, my sister’s husband (yes, she married a Marine buddy, too) was in Iraq, E moved back to her hometown on the other side of the state, and her future husband/then friend was down in the Bayou. After a night of all trying to sleep in the same bed, we headed back to New York – this time to the city – where the future Mr. E showed us his hometown. We were all a bit stressed for various reasons, but the city & our silliness took over.
And so began the tradition of annual vacations and impromptu trips. Sometimes we couldn’t make it for the 4th, especially as we started moving farther and farther from each other. And some trips were less than successful: There was the coyote-guarded beach-front campsite midway between Oklahoma and Louisiana that had us sleeping in fear and picking sand out of our teeth (and hair, and sleeping bags, and cars) for days to come. We abandoned the campsite before the weekend was over. Oh, and the time we camped in a vineyard overrun with Okie biting flies. We abandoned that campsite at dusk.
This was the first 4th that we spent under the same roof (unless you count all those sandy & leaky tents). It was much like all those past – we laughed, we ate, we laughed some more with E’s sister & BIL. And unlike that first fourth, we have some new little celebrators that I hope will carry on the tradition with their own bonker friends some day.
Photos by Erin. Thanks, Erin .