When you grow up in a little town the Fourth of July seems to have a different flavor than the city kind.

For one thing there will be no big fireworks displays aside from a few bottle rockets and a couple of Roman candles.

The things that pop out in my memory of childhood celebrations of the day revolve around outdoor picnics and backyard ballgames.

If you were lucky and had some preplanning for the holiday there might be some homemade ice cream in the making. And there always seemed to be the ice-cold watermelon, unless you just picked it from the patch in which case it would be warm but still sweet and delicious like its ancestor growing up wild in west Africa.

I remember when eating it there never seem to be enough of the heart of the melon that was sweeter and seedless. It is now grown around the world except in cold climes, being first imported to India in the 7th century and to China in the 10th century where it is now its biggest producer.

So, when you think of the independence that we enjoy on this day think of the red white and blue. The red blood of the patriots that made our freedoms possible. Think of the whites of their eyes and the command given not to shoot until you could see them. Think of the clear blue skies that represent the open frontier of the West that our forefathers conquered.

And most of all think of that precious sweet freedom that the rest of the world yearns so feverishly to possess.

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