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Bradfordville Bugle

Coffee Corner With The Editor: Sentimental about July

Jul 14, 2022 11:56AM ● By Ashley Hunter

The month of July is filled with swimming parties, hot dogs, fireworks, and sizzling summer days.

It is a month that smells like gunpowder and sunscreen, and tastes like ice cream and lemonade.

For families across the country, July is the first full month out of school, and is filled with summer vacations, poolside days, beach trips, and scraped knees.

For me, July is also a time of sentimentality.

My maternal great-grandmother was born in early-July, pre-Great Depression.

She was from a poor Scottish-American family who immigrated to the Wausau area of Florida to raise a growing brood of children.

For most of my childhood, July was launched with an annual family reunion that originally took place on her birthday, but was later moved to July 4, Independence Day.

For me, July is ripe with memories of running around at the family campground (really just a shack in the woods of Washington County), playing with cousins during the reunion, begging aunts and uncles to take us down to the swimming hole, and getting in trouble for catching beetles, lizards, and snakes out in the woods.

July smells like  fish fried by my great uncle and sweet potato pie from my great aunt’s kitchen (I’m one of the lucky few to actually have that recipe).

Growing up, my family rarely got to watch the local firework shows around Tallahassee, because we were always headed over to the reunion, where we stayed late - mostly talking, eating, and swimming until the smallest of kids were falling asleep on camp chairs and beach towels laid out on the ground.

That didn’t mean our Independence Day celebration was devoid of fireworks, though…

I remember, in particular, one of my cousins brought some small fireworks with him to the reunion - without the adults knowing he had.

He gathered all of us kids behind one of the trucks, and proceeded to light the firework…while continuing to hold onto it.

That summer, we all learned about firework safety - he was lucky only the campground first aid kit was needed afterwards.

July, to me, is a month of familial bonds - a time for being with loved ones I hadn’t seen in awhile.

If I close my eyes and picture ‘July’, I picture a childhood of swim holes, sitting with cousins on a dock, eating family recipes at a family campground, and being swatted out of the kitchen of much older-great aunts.

July is a bittersweet and sticky-hot time.

If I had to pick a summer month to be my favorite…it would probably be July.