July 4th was different this year. I had to work for the first time ever on the 4th. The hardest part about it was the fact that I would be missing a day of traditions with my family. Every year we attend the Safety Harbor July 4th parade, we grill all day long, celebrate with friends and watch the fireworks from our front yard. I love my job, but I love being with my family more and knowing they were at home having fun without me was hard. But, it wasn’t that bad. The 5 South crew that worked with me on the 4th consisted of some of my favorite people. We started making plans on Monday and by Wed. night we had a whole menu planned for our July 4th cookout inside the break room . Travis was in charge of grilling hot dogs on the George Foreman, Olga made a fabulous pasta salad, Kim brought spinach dip and hawaiian rolls, Nette brought cupcakes, Christy brought chips, Savannah bought cookies to share, Josh provided hot dog toppings and I brought guacamole along with Doug’s bacon and horseradish dip for chips. The men fired up the grill (Arrrrr….Arrrrrr) around noon and instantly we felt the holiday. The halls of 5S smelled of grilled dogs and put everyone in a July 4th mood. I think it made the patients feel better too, that is until, the lunch plates that served dried up pork chops, mashed potatoes and stuffing arrived on the bedside rolling tables in the patients rooms. Its hard to be stuck in a hospital bed while friends and family are out celebrating. On Wednesday the 3rd, I told one of my favorite patients that we’d get to celebrate the 4th together. Only his brother visits him and that’s a rare occurrence. On the 4th, while making my rounds into my patients rooms, he said to me, ” There’s a chair against the wall. You can pull it around and open the blinds so we can watch the fireworks together.” My response, “Awww, I’ll be gone by the time the fireworks start. I’m so sorry”. His half joking/half disappointed response, ” July 4th….. 2013….. all alone”. Then he made his “I’m just kidding face” because he knew I felt bad. I did feel bad, but I knew that wasn’t his intention.
Our July 4th BBQ in the break room made everyone feel better. Its good to enjoy the ones you spend so much time with during the week.
I rushed off the unit by 6:45, probably a little too early, but I was caught up on my work and eager to get home. I came home to Doug’s wonderful blue burgers, corn on the cob and Mom Webber’s pasta salad (made by Doug though (still amazing)). We ate, cleaned up and prepared for the fireworks. Every year we invite friends and neighbors, but this year, since I had to work, we kept it low key. A few people casually talked about making their way to our place, but the weather started getting a little iffy, so it ended up being just the 4 of us. We set up the big sun umbrella, tuned into the July 4th station on Pandora to set a patriotic mood and played with sparklers as we waited for the fireworks to start.
The fireworks started at 9 pm promptly, as the rain started right along with it. As the fireworks got better and bigger the rain started pouring harder and harder and somehow the music sped up. Really, it did because Sara noticed it and mentioned it. It’s true. It was so much fun! The four of us huddled under the umbrella that only partly covered us due to the wind blowing the rain right under. We looked over at our neighbors who were also watching from their dock and none of us could move. But we turned our slight disappointment into thinking, oh hell….let’s just make the most of it! A
little lot of rain never hurt anybody. We were soaked, yet couldn’t stop watching the beauty in the sky. The girls were thrilled and laughing in excitement which made it even better. In that moment, Doug and I knew that it was one of our best 4th of July celebrations ever. Just the 4 of us and no one else. We knew why it worked out that none of our neighbors or friends who had previously mentioned stopping by, didn’t show up. Well, mostly because they didn’t want to get soaked, but also because it was a night meant for just us, under the big umbrella with a front row view of the fireworks.
I will never stop being grateful for where we live! All the roads and side streets in SH were lined with cars. Cars everywhere. Downtown was filled with crowds of people and hyper kids ready to celebrate. We didn’t have to deal with any of that. We walked down the dock and had a private show. A quiet (yet loud from the fireworks) show. The show came to an end sooner then normal because I think the pyrotechnical guy was thinking, ok, I’m done…..here’s the finale’…..BYE!. We carefully walked down the dock in the rain as to not slip on the slick wood and into the water. When we arrived at the front door, we ran to our rooms to get dry and comfortable and then the 4 of us snuggled on the couch and watched the Macy’s July 4th Celebration. It was a perfect night! A July 4th I will never forget!
Happy Birthday America!