Monday, July 4, 2011


The Meaning of Independence Day is a long standing topic of discussion among my family.  My very early memories involve Family, Food, Friends, Freedom and Fireworks.   

That was just the beginning...

Independence Day involved my Grand Parents on my Mom's side who immigrated  from Italy.  This was way before illegal immigration was cool, they actually did it the right way.  In fact back in those days I couldn't tell you one from another, everyone seemed united.    

We were just folks...

On the 4th the Chute and Balestri clan would congregate at my Grandparent Balestri's house in the hills of Crockett, California. With a excellent view of the Carquinez Straight.  This made for some great fireworks viewing at night.

The day actually began with a good ole fashioned parade through downtown Crockett.  This was a parade full of civic and national pride.  It had the usual contingent of School bands, Politicians, Floats, Veterans, cool cars, cute butties from 'Miss' this and that.  It didn't contain protesters, angry at one thing or another, just good folk celebrating their freedom.

My Grandma Balestri was old-school in the kitchen.  Everything she made from Breads to Pasta was made from scratch.  I can still see her making all sorts of noodles, by hand.  The courses of these meals went on forever.  Nobody was on a diet that day.

As darkness fell on Crockett we would gather in the front yard, the yard with the view and watch the fireworks display happening below.  I thought I was the most lucky kid in the world.

 Family, Food, Friends, Freedom and Fireworks,  God Bless America!

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