From the late great Erma Bombeck: “You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.”
Once a year the Bruce Family has a reunion on the weekend closest to the 4th of July. It was Saturday the 2nd this year. My Dad, the eldest remaining of Archie and Ruth Bruce’s children offered the welcome and opening prayer. He prayed his Grandpap’s regular mealtime prayer from years gone by: “We thank thee our Father for this bountiful table spread before us with the necessities of life…” It begins something like that –I’ve got to get him to write it down for me, so I can commit this prayer to memory and perhaps pass it on to the next generation.
Dad’s sister, my Aunt Carol, brought something to the reunion…a fabric wall hanging featuring Grandma and Pap’s old house. The address — 909 Riverside Avenue. It’s where my dad and Carol grew up. The house was sold after Gram and Pap died, and for maybe a decade or so was inhabited by a young family. Even if you didn’t know, you might gather little boys lived there…wagon, baseball bat, wheelbarrow, and car. But we do know who lived there. I don’t know how it came up, but Uncle Andy worked at the same place as a young woman named Kathy, Aunt Carol golfed with that same Kathy and it turned out that Kathy and her first husband (sadly, taken too soon) bought Gram and Pap’s house in the mid-70’s and raised 2 boys there. Her mom created this darling artwork for her, and she gifted it to my Aunt Carol thinking it would be special to her. And how right she was. Carol is delighted to have this applique wall hanging of her childhood home. She brought it to the family reunion. All of us who knew 909 Riverside Avenue as home or Gram and Pap’s home, let memories wash over us — seeing, touching, feeling, reminiscing.
But that’s not the end of the story…as Carol and Kathy conversed and discovered the connection they had to the house on Riverside Avenue Carol’s maiden name, Bruce, came up. Kathy wondered if she knew of or was related to a Betsy Bruce — me! Kathy and I had been fast friends in first and second grade until our school district reorganized and we were separated. In junior high, together again, we renewed our friendship until I moved away in 1968. We didn’t keep in touch and only found each other through Facebook a couple of years ago because of her golfing with Carol. And now I’m enfolded in nostalgia…
Back to the business at hand, this is a 4th of July post! Happy Birthday to my sister a true blue Yankee Doodle Dandy, living near Paris, France for more than 3 decades now, sharing a birthday with her French husband, but of course, the 4th of July isn’t a special day in his country — still, Happy Birthday to both of you!
Happy Birthday to the United States of America!
Sharing this post from Corey Booker…