The importance of Grandmas on a holiday

We could all learn a lot from our grandmas.

In my case, the Fourth of July is a good example. Every year my grandmother plans a fun-filled day for her family. She does everything—she decides exactly what time we will eat, where we will eat, what we will eat, when it’s alright to start the water fights, when we can start shooting off our own fireworks and where we will sit and what we will sit on to watch the public fireworks from her front yard.

Now, this isn’t a simple job and she spends a lot of time and energy putting everything together. As she would say, she’s as busy as a cranberry merchant and the faster she goes the behinder she gets.

She’s always using those sayings only a grandmother would know—sayings like he just fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down or she was so ugly that when she was younger the cat buried her every time she played in the sand box.

My grandmother starts planning the holiday the year before by picking up the Fourth of July plates with the American flag printed on them as soon as they go on sale after the holiday.

She starts talking about what we will do for the holiday in May. The discussion about how many burgers and hot dogs she should make usually lasts about an hour, ending with a decision on whether she should make potato salad or macaroni and when she should begin baking the cookies.

Then comes the topic of water guns—a subject which seems to have developed into a yearly debate over who will find the best guns at Wal-Mart and who will get the wettest this year.

I guess you could say my family’s Fourth of July water fight has become more of a plotted war that ends with no winners, only a house full of water and soaked people. Believe me, my grandmother gets some good shots in because, as she would say, she didn’t fall off of the turnip tree yesterday.

Throughout the years, our family has gathered at least ten different guns, ranging from the super-shot rifle that stretches 50 feet to the ten-gallon cannon that never runs out of water.

But even these guns don’t seem to be enough. Although my grandmother forbids it every year, buckets and hoses always end up getting pulled out when the guns just don’t seem to work well enough. Eventually, one person gets the brunt of the attack when the others have decided that person is not wet enough yet. Of course, that person is usually my cousin who hates to get wet and can’t stand to have her hair messed up—my family isn’t really sensitive to those concerns.

After the water fight, the story about my uncle’s run-in with his mother’s duck always comes up. It goes like this. When my uncle was in high school, he was messing around with a pellet gun on his farm and shot the gun at a tree. The pellet ricocheted off the tree, hitting and killing his mother’s duck. Because he didn’t want to get in trouble for shooting the gun in the yard, he threw the duck on the road and said it had been hit by a car. Everybody knows what really killed the duck except my uncle’s mother, who still to this day, has a puzzled expression on her face every time someone quacks and causes an uproar of laughter.

As I get older and spend less time at home and with my family, I look forward to holidays like the Fourth of July. I look forward to grandma sayings and duck stories.

To me, the whole event has always been just a day at my grandma’s that I took for granted. I never listened when my grandma talked about how many burgers she should make. I guess I didn’t think it was important. I never realized without those discussions, without my grandma’s concern, I wouldn’t have a memorable Fourth of July to write about in this column. I didn’t realize that all of her plans boiled down to one goal—to make her family happy.

I guess I never realized just how important my grandma’s job is.