Celebrating Independence Together

By E. Adam Porter

 

The first week in July, every year, my extended family gathers at the beach in my hometown for a weeklong reunion. It’s a wonderful, relaxing time of sharing life together, filled with the familiar aromas of salt air, sunscreen, and delicious grilled meat; of days spent building sandcastles with the little ones and being buried in the sand; of shared jokes and singing, of snorkeling, fishing, spectacular skimboarding wipeouts, walks on the beach, and magnificent sunsets.

We catch up with each other, talk about days gone by, and pass our collective wisdom along to the young ones. The kids giggle as we demonstrate the stingray shuffle, do their best to listen to our lectures about the dangers of riptides, and experience temporary hearing loss when reminded they need another application of sunblock. We collect shells and sand dollars, spot pods of dolphin, and experience the patience-testing chore of untangling an open reel.

Talking with my brothers and our friends, we recall when we were kids with sandy shorts and pruny fingers, begging for Just Five More Minutes swimming in the water or playing in the sand. Those days really don’t seem so long ago… until my niece runs by, chasing her two-year-old daughter. I glance at my brother, thinking: “Wasn’t that us, just yesterday?”

Mom sits under the umbrella and shares stories about the island the way it used to be. We all chime in, reminiscing about fishing off the city pier and stores with shell parking lots. About coquina concrete and small, single-story homes with jalousie windows. The soda bottle vending machine at the bike shop. Building crab traps in the yard, smoked mullet and fried grouper back when the fishing was really good. Sunday afternoons trading stories with the liveaboards at the marina and weekdays cruising the bay after school.

The nostalgia is hypnotic and cathartic, a welcome port in the storms of life, and an oral history of The Way We Were. As kids, we never realized we were collecting memories, but now we’re passing that torch to our children and grandchildren… or would, if we could get them out of the water (five more minutes, pleeeeeeeeezzz!).

During this week, on July 4th, my family comes together with everyone on the island and across the country to commemorate our Founding Fathers’ Declaration of Independence from tyranny. It is, for the kids and for me, one of the best days of Family Beach Week, every year.

The celebration begins with the annual Independence Day Parade, watching the Privateers cruise their benevolent pirate ship down the main drag, tossing beads and firing their water cannons. Far below, on the sidewalk, the kids — armed to the teeth with Super Soakers — give as good as they get.

Later that evening, thousands of tourists and locals line the strand to enjoy one of the most impressive fireworks displays anywhere. Seven miles of sky flowers paint the twilight with booming radiance from horizon to horizon. Beneath that technicolor sky, the kids laugh and dance and sing, waving sparklers to write their names on the night.

Once again, watching them takes me back. When I lean forward to offer a few terse warnings about firework safety, I hear echoes of my parents. And that gets me thinking about how time and circumstance transforms accident-prone children gleefully waving flaming sticks into parents who repeat cautionary tales before lighting similar sticks for their own kids.

Further up the beach, close to the water line, the older teens and twenty-somethings have their own lighters, as well as much larger and more dynamic flaming sticks. The older adults toss them a few cursory safety tips, which they largely ignore. They’ve heard it all before. Soon, though, someone hollers and comes running for some ice from the cooler. We old guys glance at each other and grin. Sometimes, singed fingers are the best way to reinforce the correlation of responsibility and freedom.

And, that gets me thinking about the birthright our Founding Fathers have passed down to us. Defending our Independence is a shared responsibility, a commission handed down by that first generation of Americans. The Founders declared that freedom is every human’s indisputable right. Then they risked everything to prove it, because maintaining freedom requires personal responsibility. Something I remind my boys at every opportunity. Independence is the right of every person, and it’s worth celebrating. It’s also worth defending… I’m glad we’re able to do both together.

Happy Independence Day. 

 

 

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

The May 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS

The May 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS

In this issue… We review COVID-19 updates and get some information on testing, thank our SCC Emergency Squad and Security Patrol volunteers for staying “on the job” through the pandemic, and take a look at how some of the talented and creative...

Vesta Thanks Community Volunteers

Vesta Thanks Community Volunteers

Vesta Thanks Community VolunteersPlease help if you can, and if you need help, keep reading. A huge thank you to those who participated in our efforts to feed health care workers, first responders, and volunteers in the Sun City Center area. Over 270...

Hillsborough County to Open 2 Quarantine and Isolation Sites

Hillsborough County to Open 2 Quarantine and Isolation Sites

Hillsborough County to Open 2 Quarantine and Isolation Sites  Hillsborough County, Fla. (April 1, 2020) - Joining communities across the nation, Hillsborough County will open quarantine and isolation sites at 10 a.m. on Thursday, April 2 to house residents...

Life as we know it

Life as we know it

Life as we know it By E. Adam Porter, Editor   One thousand feet above the Fryar Drop Zone, the sky fills with deployed canvas. The crowd below cheers. Cameras flash, and smartphones film the final jump for the U.S. Airborne class graduating on March...

The APRIL 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS

The APRIL 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS

In this issue… Get the latest on the COVID-19 pandemic response from the CDC, Hillsborough County, and other local and state agencies and organizations. Learn how to outsmart scammers with tips gleaned from the Elder Care Summit. Celebrate...

Hillsborough County to Open 2 Quarantine and Isolation Sites

“Safer at Home” order in effect March 27, 10 p.m.

From Hillsborough County Emergency ManagementHillsborough County has issued a “Safer-At-Home” order to help prevent the further spread of COVID-19. This applies to all residents within Hillsborough County, effective as of 10 p.m. on March 27, 2020....

The March 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS

The March 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS

In this issue… Save the Date for the Senior Summit with AG Barr and AG Moody on March 3, as well as the can’t-miss community-wide celebration of FunFest on March 21. Hear from the SCCCA Long-Range planners, meet a local Creative Person with...

Set Sail with Your Pups to The Bay Area Renaissance Festival

Set Sail with Your Pups to The Bay Area Renaissance Festival

Anchors aweigh! The Bay Area Renaissance Festival invites you to bring your furry friends and Pirates Best to Pirates and Pups Fest weekend, February 29 – March 1. Piper’s Valley, the Festival’s special event area, will feature Pet Vendors and Competitions...

The February 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS

The February 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS

In this issue… Celebrate outstanding community volunteers; read the highlights from the SCCCA Membership Meeting; save the date for the Long Range Planning Committee Report and the Hurricane Preparedness Meeting; celebrate an outstanding woman...

Getting Wet in the Dry Tortugas

Getting Wet in the Dry Tortugas

Getting Wet in the Dry TortugasBy Kai Rambow Key West may be the end of the road, but you can head 70 miles farther west by taking the ferry to the Dry Tortugas. People love taking this day trip. It is a national park, so that means it’s on many people’s...

Learn About IRS Scams

Learn About IRS Scams

Our Community Resource Deputy Jeffery Merry is speaking on Government Imposter Scams and IRS Scams this month. Don’t miss this important, informative seminar.Three times, and locations to choose: Tuesday, January 14, at 10 a.m.The Caper Room, Sun City...

CA President Sudman Resigns

CA President Sudman Resigns

On July 1, SCCCA President Sam Sudman resigned, effective immediately, citing personal reasons. Sam has done quite a lot for this community; so, if you have a chance, reach out to thank him for his years of dedicated service to SCC.The CA Board met on...

Boys & Girls Club School Supply Drive

Boys & Girls Club School Supply Drive

The 2020-21 school year begins on August 10, 2020, and the Wimauma Boys & Girls Club needs your help! They are now accepting school supplies through Monday, August 3, 2020. Collection sites include: Sun City Center United Methodist Church1210 W. Del...

Florida Re-Opens: Phase 2

Florida Re-Opens: Phase 2

As of Friday, June 5, 2020, all but three Florida counties – Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade – have now entered “Phase 2” of reopening after the COVID-19 outbreak. Here’s a breakdown of what that means in a handy chart provided by Gov. Ron DeSantis’...

The JUNE 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS

The JUNE 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS

In this issue… We celebrate our healthcare heroes, review updates to the COVID-19 guidelines, shine the spotlight on a local disaster relief crew, look at life during lockdown, plan ahead for emergencies, review hurricane preparedness tips,...

Thank you.

Thank you.

By E. Adam Porter, Editor Out of an abundance of caution, in these challenging times, for the good of the community, we have all come together to read sentences that begin like this entirely too much over the past month or so. Let’s start over with what...

The May 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS

The May 2020 NEWS is HOT off the PRESS

In this issue… We review COVID-19 updates and get some information on testing, thank our SCC Emergency Squad and Security Patrol volunteers for staying “on the job” through the pandemic, and take a look at how some of the talented and creative...