It’s official.  I am homesick.  I am also thinking that if I got in my car RIGHT NOW and started driving, I would get to North Carolina in time for the 4th of July party at the Gundersen’s.  I miss them so much!!  For the past 17 years, I have spent almost every 4th of July with them, and if we had any friends or family in from out-of-town, we just brought them with us.  Many of the faces have changed over the years, some moved on, some passed away, and some just drifted into other circles.  But the core group has remained pretty much the same, and it is really hard for me today, as I’ve been making the potato salad that everyone always requested, to take to a party tomorrow here in Texas, to absorb the fact that we are not going to be there this year.

4th of July at the Gundersen’s is almost as mandatory in my world as Midnight Mass or the Easter Vigil!  I have so many sweet memories of being there, getting to see and visit with folks that I only saw once a year, watching Aaron shoot eggs from that giant sling shot while the kids ran all over trying to catch them without breaking, sack races, kids in the Bouncy House, water balloon fights, and of course, fireworks.  I remember Abby and Anamarie running around barely old enough to walk, proudly clutching their sparklers.  I remember A.J. and his buddies engaging in some really brutal bottle rocket battles.  I remember the year they had a mud pit. (I won’t elaborate!) I remember that crazy guy that always made a bomb in a trash can that scared the living you-know-what out of me when it went off!

Gaylon, Brett and Lisa - July 4th 2009

One year, my sister came to visit and brought some awesome fireworks from Texas.  (This year, the entire Lone Star State is like a tinder box, and firework sales are not even allowed. 🙁  )  I remember the year that Lisa’s dog grabbed one of the fireworks and ran all over the yard while the firecracker shot off helter-skelter in all directions, and the poor dog was too freaked out to drop the source of her terror! (Was that Sadie, or Daisy?  I can’t remember now). Anita’s Blueberry Salsa.  OMG.  That’s worth the drive alone!!

And the day after, we would always head back over to help clean up, and eat leftovers.  In the beginning, they would roast an entire pig, in the ground, and we called it a “Pig Pickin'”.  Now we’re all older and somewhat less willing to go to all that trouble, so they let someone else do all that work!  But the food is still just as delicious!

I know that moving is always really hard.  Next month, we will have been back in Texas for a full year, and somehow, I think that will help a lot.  From that point on, I will have one year’s worth of memories to fall back on.  For the past year, all I’ve had to remember ‘this time last year’ has been North Carolina.  And, I will never totally get past that, I’m sure.  But I think it will get easier.  Time is a great healer.  We are making wonderful new friends and memories all the time.

This year, we have been blessed to be invited to a great party at the home of some new friends, and I know we will begin making new memories. They are having sing-alongs, patriotic recitations, a cook-out, and more.  In lieu of fireworks, they have spent a small fortune on glow sticks! 🙂  We will have a blast, I know, and next year, I will have a 4th of July in Texas memory. 🙂

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