Saturday, July 03, 2010

Remember that freedom is not free!

Tomorrow is the Fourth of July, a favorite holiday because it holds so many good memories of family. When I was little and lived with my aunt and uncle I couldn't wait for the family dinner on the Fourth of July. It was one of two family dinners held annually by my uncle's family. He was one of nine and though he was my uncle by marriage, I thought of them as my family too. Every family brought enough food for themselves and to share. What a spread! My favorite part of the day was the middle of the afternoon when the ice cream freezers appeared. They were the hand crank variety and as the saying goes, "the wheels of progress grind slowly." In other words, it seemed like the ice cream would never be ready! I can taste it now.

When our children were growing up, it was another holiday spent with grandparents: Mom and Dad and Honey, my mother. We decided from year to year what we would cook on the grill. After the sun went down we might take our lawn chairs to the driveway and watch the fireworks display at the country club a mile or so away. Holidays with family are the best!

We have no definite plans this year--just know we'll cook with Tommy, Liz and family. He thinks I should rest and let him do it all, but I convinced him I should do dessert. It won't be hand cranked, but the 21st century version of homemade ice cream made in a countertop machine.

This morning I was up early to go to the Farmers' Market before the night time help left. I came home with lady peas (already shelled, of course), butterbeans, tomatoes, cucumbers, corn, peaches and a coffee cake. My friends on the West Coast may not know about lady peas; I know they aren't familiar with good ole' Southern butterbeans. I surely missed pink-eye purple hull peas, butterbeans, lady peas and other Southern fare when we lived in California. Of course now we miss all the fresh citrus, strawberries and other produce that was so plentiful where we were.

Family, food, freedom: part of who we are as Americans. We remember especially at holidays the good times, the good food and the family with whom we've shared. Much of that family lives only in our memory. We enjoy because we are free. In the midst of all our celebrations, let's pause to give thanks for the greatest freedom we have--freedom in Jesus; for the second greatest freedom--to be citizens of the USA; and all the other freedoms that come to us beacause of the first two. God bless you as you celebrate and as you ponder the freedoms you enjoy.

Pastor Margaret

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