Hop in the DeLorean, we're headed to July 4, 2012

4:36 PM

  I routinely field comments about how little I drink. I am the immediate selection for a DD because of my supposed aversion. I guess if that is the worst thing prematurely assumed about me, I'm not going to complain, but truthfully, I am really not opposed. In fact, give this girl a hot summer evening, a pitcher of margaritas and a couple of girlfriends to share it with and you'll soon find that all you have left is an empty pitcher and a couple of giggling girls. Alternatively, a blizzard, a Sex and the City marathon and those same girlfriends and we'll empty every bottle of wine in your house.

Here's the thing though. I guess I don't drink very often because the following is true: my life has turned into something so incredible and so memorable, I can't fathom a moment that I can't recollect entirely. I need to remember exact faces and phrases and conversations and smells and sounds and...well, all of it.

Yesterday, in celebration of my country's birth, I gathered up a few of my favorite friends, piled into the car and found ourselves a river.  Thanks to Target, tubes were produced. Thanks to a decent set of lungs and wearily tested lung capacity, tubes filled with air were produced.


Off we went.

 With an afternoon like that on the roster, I quickly offered to drive. And so the coolers filled with adult beverages floated with my friends while I snapped pictures and recorded a day in my life that, since I'm not Marty McFly, I will never get back.

***Short intermission***
I used to have a gym teacher in the fourth grade who would admonish us for talking while he was trying to teach by telling us that those three minutes that we ignored him were three minutes that were gone forever. FORRRREVVVERRRR. Talk about teaching, I never forgot that one.
***Intermission over***

If you're celebrating the birthday of someone you love, and call me crazy, but I love the good ol' U-S of A, then you couldn't ask for a better day. Sun, sand and extreme temperatures that can only exist inside the perameters of Michigan and a little murky water. That there is what they call a perfect combination.

An afternoon that lasted forever.
We floated, they drank, I swam, we floated some more, we stopped off and waded in the clay, played chicken and geared up to float some more. We talked, we laughed, we splashed whichever friend was most unsuspecting. We saw a snake. We laughed when my sister's boyfriend climbed a fence to escape  it. We had an entire afternoon of moments that we'll never get back, but you know what? We don't need them back. We spent them in the best possible way.

[caption id="attachment_1033" align="aligncenter" width="470"] We will not be photobombed![/caption]

I dare you to figure that one out.  

By the time six o'clock rolled around, everyone was sticky, stinky and sunburned. That's Latin for "hungry," I guess anyway, because it was the general consensus. Pizza was the rumble of all present bellies.

The boys put down more pizza in five minutes than a pack of fifth graders can in an entire school day. And then they conked out....equally as fast. As in, we climb in the car and in the ten seconds it takes me to pull the gear shift into reverse, I've got a pack of sleepers in the back seat. I peered in the rearview mirror occasionally as I drove the crew home, grinning at the way their faces betrayed their sweeter sides. They were all out like tiny little lights.

I know some people decompress by being with friends. Chatting and rehashing the things that bother them, but not me. I need quiet. I don't necessarily have to be alone, but the silence is necessary. I had that in the long drive home. I pushed the cruise and just let go.

I let the fading sun guide me home.

The drive was serene. Well,  sort of. Michigan has only recently made it legal to acquire, own and set off the kind of fireworks that go squealing into the air with a popping neon colored explosion, and so, as day became night, and I steered the car along the flat, boring highway, I watched lights booming and lighting up the sky in all directions. It was serene because it was quiet and cool and although I knew there were booms outside, in my tiny moving piece of this life, all I could hear were the snores of my friends and the hum of the air conditioning.

 I loved that all this was going on while I was surrounded by my people, my best friends, and yet, this was a private moment. I looked over to the sleeper in the passenger seat and for a moment, I wanted to wake him up and share this special thing with him, but in the end, I was glad to be alone. Those are fireworks just for me, I thought. I might have grinned to nobody. Grinned to myself, I guess.

I know the fourth of July is about a birthday, and a very important one, but I couldn't help thinking that when we celebrate, we're celebrating so much more than that. I watched pops of light coming from everywhere and knew that we weren't just celebrating a holiday, we were celebrating good times and good company. Good food and great beer. Good moments that last forever. A good life. It was a celebration of family, friends, fun and all the things that make us look forward to the weekend. All the reasons why living is so good. It was a celebration of all the best parts of our lives.

It took an hour to get home and besides the obvious reasons, I was so glad that I was completely sober because I get to have that hour in my memory forever. The lights, the company, the cool air, the knowing that it would soon be over and gone and irretrievable are locked in the place in my head that plays and replays the movie of my life. I remember when I was a kid and my mom would videotape Bonanza so she could watch it a hundred times. I taped that drive and I'll probably watch the reruns just as often.

And you know the best way to watch a rerun?

Yes, we'll have a pitcher of margaritas please. Oh, and keep them coming.

P.S. Wanna see the rest of the pictures? Go here!

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