Everyone celebrates Independence Day in his or her own tradition. Family memories are as reminiscent as that of any other holiday or celebration.

For my family it was the celebration of my Grandma’s birthday. Not many have the good fortune of knowing their birthday will never be missed. She was a stately ole’ gal that made the most of gathering her brood around for a memorable day.

Having raised six daughters, there was no lack of family and friends — aunts, uncles and cousins that still share those memories at every family gathering. Though time has taken its toll, there is still one uncle and a bunch of cousins whose stories seem to take on different but interesting versions. Three of the cousins (John, Gary and Larry) are no longer with us, but their voices are still being heard.

My Grandpa always wanted a boy, but when the last baby was born, he was informed, “She’s a boy, again”, thus the name Sheboygan, WI was coined. And though he wasn’t around to see all the boys that carried his genes, he seemed to have left his mark on each and every one of them.

The love of racehorses was perhaps the most pronounced, as a 4th of July weekend usually involved a horse race at one of the local county fairs, and has since become the heart and soul of most of the family folklore.

Our county fair was so much a part of the July 4th celebration, as it was usually held just prior and, continued in spirit, while it was still fresh on everyone mind. There was always the could a-would a- should a conversations that haven’t been settled to this day.

My folk’s farm was usually the gathering place for the 4th and probably the most remembered whenever we get together to reminisce about the good ole’ days. They took so much pride in preparing for this special day. The food flowed like honey, as every morsel complimented the grilling hamburgers and hot dogs whose fragrance permeated the air like that of a county fair.

Is it any wonder why we love the 4th of July so much?