The month of July could be one of my most memorable months as a child. I can still see us kids running around with a glass jar catching fire flies. Sometimes we would take their glowing parts and put them on our face and hands. Our moms and dads were outside up on the porches drinking coffee with the neighbors, and hatching out the politics of the day. No one had a cell phone in their hand and for sure, no one was inside watching TV.
It seemed the sun was up late into the evening, and I can still feel the warm humid air as we ran from tree to tree playing tag and holding on to our fireflies for fear they would be stolen by the next kid.
We lived in a city called Jennings, right out of St. Louis, and the houses were very close to one another. Every night, except for church nights, when we all went to church, there we were playing, running, and flipping jump ropes in the streets, All the while, feeling very secure that our moms and dads were in sight.
July was also our patriotic month, and it was nothing for us to see several flag poles in our neighborhoods with our precious flag flying high. We were taught the highest respect for our flag and country. I still get the goosebumps when I hear the Star Spangled Banner sung.
And then there were the July gardens. Everyone on our street planted somewhat of a garden in their back yards, especially tomato plants. My dad always boasted he had the first tomato, and proudly displayed it to all the neighbors. I can still taste the sweetness of that first tomato.
Last, but not least, were the great barbecues everyone had. I can still smell the smoke rising in someone’s back yard, and my dad was right along with everyone else. We had my dad’s famous Modiga Strip Steaks with his wonderful Peppermint Sauce. We also had our American hot dogs and burgers, as my Italian dad would call them. Mom made the best Awesome Potato Salad, which is of course in my Rosalie Serving Country cookbook.
What more could a kid ask for? We had God, Family, and Country….all in the month of July!
Happy July everyone, and God Bless America!