Yesterday, we had a small town Fourth of July. We went to a neighboring community to see the parade, as my brother-in-law enters his 1932 Buick in parades and car contests, and we were invited to watch and, of course, vote. Plus, my niece was riding on the 4-H float, and my nephew's friend had entered his tractor. The kids ended up invited to ride in the Buick in the parade, along with brother-in-law's mother-in-law, who donned the tiara we gave her as a joke and waved enthusiastically to the crowd in a wave-wave-elbow-elbow pattern. The rest of the parade consisted six VFW members in a sixties era Chevy Impala, which was, of course, Fourth of July red, several tractors, one of which kept stalling and needed to be chain towed and started again in gear by the tractor ahead of it, a judge throwing candy from a convertible, the antique and classic cars, a county commissioner playing march music from speakers on top of the car, two cub scout troops, the historical society float of salt making by the pioneers, two horses, a pony, three clowns, and a man on his highly waxed lawn mower.
Then there were games for the kids, who all won a hot dog and popsicle at the concession stand for their prowess in the sack races and water balloon tossing. Nita didn't win in the sack race, as she reached the home stretch and face planted just before the finish line, most likely because she was wearing her ghastly pink crocs inside the pillow case. However, she had a water balloon toss partner who threatened her with the balloon right before the game commenced, causing her to be less distracted and cocky, which made for a winning combination.
Last night we had a party.
The last party we had was two years ago, when EG invited a friend whose wife I somehow must have insulted during the evening, as she completely ignored me and refused all contact after that, to the point where her husband severed all contact with EG after a few months.
So, needless to say, I wasn't in a hurry to hostess again. However, last night we celebrated our neighbor's last fireworks extravaganza by having a few people over. I asked my sister and niece, as I figured the first holiday after a loss is so hard. I also asked my brother-in-law and his partner and the no longer tiara wearing mother-in-law, a friend from work, and my friend from high school, who was in town for the weekend. It was a nice mix. The fireworks were late, when it was completely dark, and there was lots of laughter and lots of talking.
It was good for us, too. We have experienced so much sadness in the past few years that we find ourselves turning more and more inward. We need to invite the world in more and shut it out less.