Candy and I have been busy planning, buying, planning, planning for an open house that we held on Sunday in Rapid City. Candy’s best friend, Nancy, helped from the Rapid City side as we did the planning from this side.
Then on Wednesday, Candy and I headed to Rapid City to finalize plans, get the party room (in the apartment building) ready and be with the folks. On Saturday, Norm and Wayne headed over to help and be there for the party.
Candy and I slept at the folks until the boys came, then Norm and I stayed at his sister Eileen’s house (thanks, Eileen). We had the party on Sunday, like I mentioned and bunches (and bunches and BUNCHES) of people showed up.
We had invited cousins to join us and three came, with their wives. Jim and Jake from North Dakota, representing Mom’s side of the family; Roger and wife, representing Dad’s side of the family. We (Candy and I) had managed to keep their coming a secret from the folks, so they were surprised when they showed up.
Sunday morning we sent the folks off to church and then finished decorating the party room and putting out the food.
Details of food? Well, it was hard to figure out just what we were going to get for attendance, so we guestimated at about 100 - 150 for food. We had punch (recipe following), coffee, mini-cupcakes, sliced summer sausage and crackers and home-made butter-cream mints. My self-appointed job was to see that the tables were kept full. We went through nearly everything - very little was left over after 3 hours of people coming through.
It was hot, outside and in - the crush of people was too much for the air conditioner and all of us felt pretty warm; not much coffee was drunk, but we went through nearly 7 gallons of punch!
Recipe for punch, created by Candy and I:
1 - 12 oz can of pulpless orange juice concentrate
1 - 12 oz can of pineapple concentrate
½ cup of sugar
8 cups of water
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 cap-full of almond extract (cap from extract bottle)
2 caps-full of lemon juice (cap from ‘real lemon’ bottle)
2 liters of lemon-lime soda
It was very tasty - not too sweet and not too citrus-sie, even though it was all citrus.
The total number of people who signed the guest book was (tah-dah!) 151! We think we missed some, but this was a pretty close number.
After the open house, Mom wanted a dinner for the relatives and some of their closest friends. We ended up with 27 for dinner, catered by a local restaurant. Then the group helped clean up and relatives joined us at the apartment for visiting.
It was a long day! But it was worth it to have so many come out to honor the folks for their anniversary.
The mayor of Rapid City had a proclamation that he brought, read and gave to the folks, announcing that Sunday, July 1st was “Chuck and Grace Childs Day” in Rapid City.
A childhood friend of mine, David Drovdahl, is the son of Dad’s childhood / college friend. He is also Speaker of the House for North Dakota (Mom and Dad’s birth state); he and Mayor Sam Kooike exchanged a few words about the rivalry of the two states. David also made a speech about the fact that the folks were North Dakota born and raised.
Many people have asked why Mom and Dad got married on July Fourth. They have said they didn’t realize it was the “Fourth.” A speech that President Roosevelt gave talks about that very point. He said:
For 166 years this Fourth Day of July has been a symbol to the people of our country of the democratic freedom which our citizens claim as their precious birthright. On this grim anniversary its meaning has spread over the entire globe--focusing the attention of the world upon the modern freedoms for which all the United Nations are now engaged in deadly war.
On the desert sands of Africa, along the thousands of miles of battle lines in Russia, in New Zealand and Australia, and the islands of the Pacific, in war-torn China and all over the seven seas, free men are fighting desperately--and dying--to preserve the liberties and the decencies of modern civilization. And in the overrun and occupied nations of the world, this day is filled with added significance, coming at a time when freedom and religion have been attacked and trampled upon by tyrannies unequaled in human history.
Never since it first was created in Philadelphia, has this anniversary come in times so dangerous to everything for which it stands. We celebrate it this year, not in the fireworks of make-believe but in the death-dealing reality of tanks and planes and guns and ships. We celebrate it also by running without interruption the assembly lines which turn out these weapons to be shipped to all the embattled points of the globe. Not to waste one hour, not to stop one shot, not to hold back one blow--that is the way to mark our great national holiday in this year of 1942.
To the weary, hungry, unequipped Army of the American Revolution, the Fourth of July was a tonic of hope and inspiration. So is it now. The tough, grim men who fight for freedom in this dark hour take heart in its message--the assurance of the right to liberty under God--for all peoples and races and groups and nations, everywhere in the world.
Norm and I spent some time with his sister, Eileen, and husband Joe, then went out to the ranch to spend time with his brother, Darrell, and wife Mavis. Mavis is my “oldest” friend - we’ve been friends since I started going with Norm, 47 years ago. It’s great to spend time and catch up with everything that has been going on in the family. We then headed home on Tuesday, in the heat and humidity. We arrived home and went to bed early!
While we were in Rapid, we watched the news closely, as there were 3 major fires in the Black Hills. The smoke covered the area and we could not see the Black Hills from the spots we normally see them. The sun was also affected by the smoke, as well.
Yesterday was the Fourth, as we all know. Norm and I “celebrated” by taking it easy in the heat and recovering from the trip. Norm went to the Farm to do chores, then spent most of the time inside. We had a heat index of 108º and are grateful for the lovely air conditioning. It is running right now, as our heat index today is 95º – they say that it is going to be cooler this weekend!
We celebrate the Fourth as our Independence Day; we celebrate by honoring those who have sacrificed for our freedom. All my life I have celebrated the Fourth by remembering it was also my folks’ anniversary. This time my sister, brother-in-law and husband celebrate a mile-stone of 70 years of married life for my folks.
Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad!