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REFLECTIONS: July 3-Memories of the Fourth of July picnic

This week we celebrate the FOURTH OF JULY. Next to Christmas this was the HOLIDAY that I waited for with much anticipation. It was also one of the longest days of the year for me. It was the day we got to go to the Fourth of July Picnic. I have never figured out why it was called a picnic because it really was just a carnival. I have often wondered if at some time it really was a picnic where people came from far and wide. As the picnic started late in the day that meant we had to wait all day for evening to come, thus the long day of waiting. It was early in the evening when we started the walk to the picnic grounds located where Pink Bud now stands. For days kids tried to make a little money to take to spend at the picnic. Frank said he picked blackberries and sold them for 25 cents a gallon. (I wish I could buy fresh blackberries for 25 cents a gallon now.) Or they would sell them 25 cents a pint. Today you pay about two dollars a pint. He also hunted bullfrogs along Vache Grasse Creek and sold them for ten cents apiece. His main customers were the late Dr. Charles Hall and the late Bub Richards. He caught them by the gunny (burlap) sacks full. Can’t you just imagine how the two “Minnies”, Hall and Richards, felt when their husbands brought in a sack of jumping, croaking frogs for them to take care of? I have cooked a wash tub of frogs in my time and have never eaten a bite of one. Today if you order frog legs in a restaurant you pay a big price.

Back to the picnic—-as I said it was just a big carnival with a Ferris wheel, a Carousel, or Merry-go-round as they were called at that time. My favorite was the Merry-mix-up. As it became faster and faster and it got higher and higher it made one feel as if you really were flying in the sky. There were stands, when if you had a nickel, you could buy shaved ice in a flimsy paper cup that leaked down your chin on to your clothing but oh, how good the cold flavored ice tasted. Today one can buy a snow cone of just about any flavor you can think of in a Styrofoam cup with a straw that is also a spoon and pay not a nickel but around two dollars.

The Fourth was also the day Mama made homemade ice cream and if we were real lucky it was banana. It was also the day that Daddy disappeared for a little while and came back with a CASE of red soda pop. What a treat. It is still a tradition for me to have red soda pop on the 4th of July.

There was also a dance floor at the picnic. If a couple was brave enough to dance they were the talk of the town all the next week. The picnic was like a big family reunion. People came from far and wide to attend. A lot of people who were raised in Greenwood and had moved away saved their vacations until the Fourth just to attend. It was a wonderful care free time when it was safe for kids to run free among the crowd. There was always someone who knew them who helped keep an eye on them. Today, there is the Freedom Fest that goes on all day so grab a chair, something to drink and spend the day. I am sure you will see someone you have not seen since last year. And try a little banana ice cream and red soda pop and MAKE MEMORIES FOR YOUR FAMILY.

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