Seven hours 27 minutes and 30 seconds.
This is how long I sat on Stephanie’s couch to watch Season 3 of Netflix’s hit Stranger Things.
I precariously balanced a bag of Boom Chicka Pop Sea Salt Popcorn, a 40-pouch box of Welch’s Berries N’ Cherries Fruit Snacks and a 2-liter bottle of Coke as I entered her apartment. I miraculously managed not to spill anything.
“So, what are you doing on the 4th?” my mom asked.
“Ummm…watching Stranger Things,” I replied.
“Sooooo…no parties?” she asked skeptically.
“I’m gonna be social,” I said, rolling my eyes.
A sigh of relief escaped from my mom’s mouth.
“I’m watching with Stephanie.”
I could feel the judgment all the way from Mesa, Arizona.
“You ready?” Stephanie asked with her finger hovering over the space bar.
Spoiler: The popcorn and Coke do not last the binge-watch session.
– Elena Seeley
It was another successful Fourth of July in Nashville, Tennessee; one of the most awaited events of the year. Walking out of the crowds seemed impossible after the hour-long fireworks show.
It was hot and humid as the claustrophobia from being in the crowd hit me. People were walking around with beer in their hand, screaming children in strollers all going the same direction with the same purpose to escape the crowd. My family and I made a line and held on to each other’s shirts, so we wouldn’t lose anyone in the group.
I, being in the front, lead the group. I felt pushing and shoving and thought to myself, this wasn’t the time to fall. If I were to fall this would be it. I didn’t want to be trampled by a crowd of drunk people. I was scared. I looked around and saw nothing but bodies surrounding me.
In the midst of the chaos, I took a second look and saw a black, medium size dog in the air. To my surprise this dog wasn’t in the air, his owner was carrying him. The poor dog seemed scared; he was curled up on the man’s shoulder like a little child would be in a scary moment. The furry friend was safe and was able to get out even though he didn’t actually walk out. He was carried out.
– Danys Coronel
Parades are cool and all, but in order to get the whole experience, you need to interact with the people on the floats.
My friend and I were at the parade in Rexburg. As the floats went by, we tried our best to get the attention of the little kids. We just wanted one of them to smile and wave. Float after float went by with little to no success, and I was starting to get discouraged.
Then this car came by. I saw a little boy in the back seat, just staring out the window at me. This was it, I gave it all I had. I cheered, I waved, I gave him a thumbs up, my friend even made a heart with her hands.
Disappointed, we watched as he passed us, just staring, confused, as he rode by. Then something switched, his eyes lit up, and he grinned. His little hand came out the window and he threw us the ‘hang loose’ hand sign.
“AYYYYY,” we yelled back.
While walking around the fairgrounds, we stopped by one of the fair games. It was a basketball game and the point was to make the ball go in the basket to win a prize. There was a group of about 12 Latinos that were all bunched up and wanted to play. They all knew they were not good and didn’t want to waste their own money. Their uncle decided to pay $100 for each of them to rotate around and have a chance to make a shot. They all had about five shots each, and they were laughing at the fact that none were going in. It was nice to see a family happy and smiling from the failures of their shots. Yes, the uncle lost $100, but seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces were priceless. It turned out to be a good investment for them.
On a day where sleeping in was necessary, laziness was sure to follow. I did nothing all day but made sure to look good for a date with my husband before we watched the big firework show that everyone always talks about. Thirty seconds into sitting at our table and a cute little girl stuck her head over the booth to look at us as we gazed at each other. Two raspberry lemonades made their way to our table. We ordered different soups and the same salad when a young boy came over to my husband’s side of the booth and started hitting his seat. Five breadsticks in and we were too full to move so we just stared and smiled awkwardly until the boy was removed by his grandpa.
– Audrey Flanagan
I planned for the best day of the year weeks ago. The Fourth of July was off to a great start as I finished playing a game of ultimate frisbee with a group of friends around 10 a.m. Hot and sweaty, I jumped onto my bike and rode to the next activity on my agenda. I arrived at another friends apartment complex, the Landing, where six of us got together to head to the Rexburg, Idaho, parade. Hungry, I brought a S’mores Pop Tart with me. We all started to head over to the parade with the rest of the bustling small town. I quickly discovered that it was hard to eat a Pop Tart while riding a bike. Obviously, the solution was to have my friend Austin, who was walking next to me, feed it to me while I rode my bike. We all enjoyed the parade with each other’s company.
– Allison Pritchett
A National holiday spent in another country makes perfect sense right? Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, was the perfect destination to celebrate. Woke up to the smell of bacon and eggs roaming through the vents of the house, a lick on the face from the black furry pup we call Lizzie. Walked around the mall as we endured ear aching story after story of my dad sharing all the memories he had in this mall as a teenager. Took a nice afternoon stroll through the majestic coulees all the way down to the “Old Man River.” As the day came to an end our family gathered around the dining room table, eager intense looks stir up in one another’s eye as we all began slamming cards on the table shouting NERTS!
As I came out of the river water, I watched for the next jumper. I spotted a little girl, maybe 6 or 7, on the bridge, her family supporting her and egging her on to jump in. Her “No, I can’t” phrases became “Ok, watch”. She held her life jacket in anticipation. We were all silent- she had made her mind. She was going to jump. She planted her feet, as if she were preparing to launch. You could tell she was mentally prepared to jump. She was going to do it. She then gave out the blood-curdling scream. It wasn’t a scream of terror, but a scream of defiance and war. She stopped and stood there for a moment, leaving the entire river in shock. What just happened? Her dad patiently patted her back. “So. Are you going or not?”
The fireworks show at Snake River Landing in Idaho Falls is always crowded with people from all over southeast Idaho. As me and my friends walked through the crowds of citizens covered in red, white and blue, we found a nice open grassy area right up by the river. We set up an inflatable couch behind a small family with 4 little kids. After we sat down on our comfortable couch, a little blond-haired boy from the family in front of us walked over. With purpose in his eyes, he slowly attempted to squish on the couch with us. We were surprised at how comfortable he was getting this personal with strangers. We asked his if he was excited for the fireworks. He replied, “Yes,” and yelled at the top of his lungs, “who wants to watch a free gymnastics show?” He then jumped up and started doing flips over his siblings who were laying on a blanket in front of us.
There were ten people per raft as a group of 40 of us were floating down the river. I was sitting in the back of raft number four. My friend Ryan turned to me with a smirk on his face. Jake, he said, I dare you to go tackle John off of the raft into the freezing river. I agreed. John was another one of our friends that was on raft number four. I creeped up to the front of the raft. No one was the wiser. I looked directly at John. He was focused on rowing the raft. I looked at the water. It was yet to be deep enough for my evil plot. A few minutes passed and people started to wonder why I was situated at the front of the boat when I was supposed to be in the back. I looked at the river once again. The river had gotten deeper. It was time for my plan to take action. I looked at John, he looked at me. Then with my 6 foot 4 inch 240-pound body I lunged at John. It was like an NFL linebacker hitting a small child. We both flew off of the raft into the river.
For my family, the Fourth of July is a day of excitement. Every year we do the same thing. We wake up and my dad will buy donuts for breakfast. Red, white and blue sprinkles are scattered in the box. I grab my favorite, a red velvet cake donut and enjoy fruit and orange juice with the rest of my family. We spend the day outside enjoying the sunshine and have a barbeque. Afterwards, we lit a couple fireworks with just our family before our neighbor’s firework show. While we enjoy this holiday, there is one person in our family who does not enjoy the Fourth. Our cat, Tilly, has always been skittish. Her former owners would shoot at her which gave her PTSD from any loud sound or movement. When the first sound of a Pop-It exploded on the concrete driveway, she hid in the very back of the coat closet. Her eyes wide with terror, she wouldn’t let anyone come near her or coax her to coming out of the closet to assure her that she was entirely safe. “Come on Tilly, you’re being dramatic,” my sister said to her, but Tilly wouldn’t move an inch. She would just stay frozen in complete and total fear. For most people, the Fourth of July, is a delightful holiday. But for Tilly, it’s the worst holiday in the whole world.
It was 12:46 a.m. I was inching back toward Rexburg after the Melaleuca Freedom Celebration. I was caught in the very traffic I swore I would avoid this year, but my patriotism was strong; it overpowered my hatred of endless taillights and thick exhaust fumes, accompanied by squealing, overheated brakes.
Traffic finally merged into a single lane and everyone started to pick up speed again.
I saw a silver Honda Civic broken down on the side of the road with four fellow students inside. I knew I would lose my place in the long line of cars ahead, but I still pulled over to offer any help I could give.
I asked the driver “Y’all need a ride?”
“Hang on a sec” he said. He came back a minute later with two of his friends, David and Carlos.
We got in my blue Nissan Pathfinder and I asked, “Where are y’all from?”
“We’re from Honduras,” David answered.
I let out a laugh and asked, “What’s your favorite thing about America?”
David responded “That strangers like you help strangers like me even on the side of the road at 12:46 a.m. God bless America.”
– Josh Radicic
As a Canadian, the fourth of July lacks the excitement I presume others experience as it nears. Canada Day was July 1st, so my mom sent me a package of Canadian candy and little Canadian flags to celebrate.
Unfortunately, the package didn’t arrive until July 2nd, but I figured what better way is there to celebrate my first Canada Day in the United States than to celebrate on July 4th instead?
The afternoon of July 4th, I adorned my hair with the little Canadian flags from my mom. It was Canada’s time to shine.
I brought my speaker outside to share with the world the ultimate Canada Day music: The Arrogant Worms’ Completely Canadian Compilation.
As ‘When Canada Rules the World’ played, a man stopped and said to me, “You do realize we are in America, don’t you? It’s the fourth of July!”
“Fourth of July? Don’t know her.” I responded. I opened another box of Canadian smarties and simply smiled at the man as I skipped to the next song—‘I Am Not American’.