It has been a privilege throughout my life to be part of joyous 4th of July celebrations with either family or friends or both. This is an edited version of my RV Life column from July 1991.
All sizes of flags have been flying from antennas of motorcycles, bicycles, boats and RVs, plus front porches, garages, condos, and cabins. It is very exciting to see our great flag rippling across the land.
As a full-time RVer, I attend various Independence Day celebrations throughout the country. With children living on either coast, I’m not with any of them as much as I would like to be, thus this particular year held a double celebration for me. I shared a blanket, a picnic, and gorgeous Washington sunset with my daughter, her husband, and my beautiful granddaughter on the green grass overlooking the spillway of the Grand Coulee Dam.
It is a wonderful time and place for families, and they turned out in record number. To a background of falling water and lively, happy chatter, the edge of night brought a warm summer breeze to this eve of July Fourth. Rebecca made quick acquaintances with other babies in the almost-two category. They danced, twirling in wild abandon, delightfully free, slipping and falling and laughing in the slightly damp grass, pointing in wonder at the stars out in heavenly profusion. Abruptly she collapsed, asking this often missing “granna” for “juish.”
Suddenly a masterful voice burst through the night, “I am power; I am strength; I am the River Columbia…They have drunk my body and prospered at my side…” We were mesmerized as “Chariots of Fire” filled the air, accompanied by computerized and choreographed 300’ high laser beams creating illusions of colorful butterflies, flowers, and waves. The history of the mighty Columbia River was told from the beginning of time, through the animals, the Indians in canoes, the settlers by wagon train, and on until it was harnessed by the Grand Coulee Dam to generate more power than a million locomotives.
An hour passed quicker than a speeding laser, but no, our magical evening wasn’t over. What would a Freedom Celebration be without fireworks? It was noisy enough to force Rebecca backward into my arms for safety and snuggling into a blanket against the chilling air. My goosebumps came from the beautiful finale of laser fireworks as the cascading water in front of us flooded with lights…and our “broad stripes and bright stars” were above us, waving “over the land of the free and the home of the brave.”
This is a memory from a long time ago but in my mind, it is as fresh as this morning. I hope you have happy 4th of July memories but even better, make special new ones with friends or family. God Bless until next week.
NOTE: July 3rd and 4th, 2013, you’ll find craft booths, food, and music below the Visitor Center at Grand Coulee Dam, along with the Wednesday night Laser Light Show and fireworks.
Winter in the Wilderness, the first e-book novel published by Minshall is offered through Amazon and most Internet book sites. A print edition may be obtained from Amazon or you can order an autographed copy from the author at Box 1040, Congress, AZ for $7.95 plus $3.50 for postage and handling. The fourth edition of RVing Alaska and Canada is available through Amazon.com.
At 45, Widow Minshall began 20 years of solo full-time RVing throughout Alaska, Mexico, and Canada. Sharlene canoed the Yukon, mushed sled dogs, worked a dude ranch, visited Hudson Bay polar bears, and lived six months on a Mexican beach. She lectured at Life on Wheels, published six RV-related books and wrote a novel, “Winter in the Wilderness.”