4th of July Barbee Style

Celebrating the 4th was pretty awesome as a kid. One of the most memorable parts was knowing we would get new outfits. Mama and daddy would go to Robert Hall, one of our local stores and often get us new short sets or one piece rompers in red, white and blue. They cost 2 for $5 which, in those days was still a lot, but we managed. I now know the sacrifice it cost my parents to make holidays special. graphics-fireworks-227058 Daddy would always barbecue ribs and mama would make potato salad, cole slaw, and spaghetti. I am sure we had more but those are the things that stand out in my memory. Daddy would light up the oil drum pit and put on rows and rows of slabs of ribs. He had a bottle he kept near the pit, filled with water and vinegar that he sprinkled on the meat to tenderize it as it cooked. As a little girl, I can remember always standing there watching and him telling me to “get back, get back”. I loved the smell; I loved the sizzle and most importantly, I loved the pieces he would break off for me as it finished cooking. I would always lick my fingers in glee. He also had a pot filled with his special barbecue sauce, which I almost have perfected making over the years. In the pot was a mop brush he used to mop the meat with sauce as it finished. Boy, oh boy, oh boy….that always generated salivating on my part. Really! I was mesmerized. I don’t remember my sister and brothers being quite obsessed with the barbecuing as I was. Oh yes, I cannot forget the watermelon we would also have, cause daddy was the one who taught us how to spit the seeds far away from where we were sitting. Sometimes daddy would also give us a sip of his beer and mama would yell at him. It was bitter and I really didn’t like it, but it was fun anyway. Sometimes, which was not too often, daddy would pull out the crank homemade ice cream maker. After we had eaten, he would make ice cream. I loved turning the crank handle, but the thrill quickly wore off and it became tiring. I never really liked the homemade ice cream as a child, but now I would give anything to taste it again. We never went to parades cause daddy hated crowds and loading us up in the car, but rather we stayed at home and played while they cooked. Sometimes friends would stop by and sometimes not. But the very best part was we could not wait until night time because that was when the fun began. We always had sparklers that we would light up. As we held them in our hands, we could twirl and swirl and often times run around the yard with our bright sparkles popping. Unfortunately as we ran, we yelled, sometimes a bit too much for daddy and he would yell at us to stop acting like fools. Wait, let me tell it right, he would yell at us and tell us to stop acting like damn fools. You see my daddy had a very salty tongue. LOL! Then it really got good! Daddy would pull out the ladder and prop it up against the house. We all took our turns climbing up, finding our spot on the roof and sat waiting for the fireworks to begin, in the distance. Of course mama never joined us. It seemed her job was to stand on the ground yelling at us to sit still and yelling at daddy for letting us go up on the roof. I really don’t remember her seeing one fireworks display, but rather watching us and fretting the whole time. I remember, climbing up and sitting there was no problem. The problem came when we had to come down, cause that was always harder than going up. I was scared, but my desire to go up always overrode my fear of coming down. But we would sit there and ooohhh and aahhh as the beautiful colors lit up the sky in the distance, waiting for that final big one that made it all worthwhile. We would then come down, carefully and be shuttled off to bed and thus would end a wonderful and memorable day. One that I now cherish in my memory banks and long for…..just one more time.


  1. Wonderful memories of your family’s Fourth of July celebrations, Pam. I can almost taste the ribs and watermelon!


  2. July 4th always included eating outside picnic style in Little Rock’s zoo park near the stadium where the fireworks were set off. I remember the smells more than anything of all the grills going and I always wished we could have those delicious pork ribs like the other families. Arkansas watermelon was the best!


  3. I too have vivid memories of family holidays. My childhood 4th of July’s were usually spend at my aunt Lou’s house. There was a public school nearby that always held parades and fireworks. We would watch the parade, eat ribs and watermelon, then gather on the playground to watch the fireworks. Afterwards we would go back to my aunts house and catch lightning bugs ( I did not know they were called fireflies until I was grown!!!) We would put them in mason jars that had holes punched in the top.It was always a contest to see who could catch the most!! The firefly release was an amazing sight to see.


  4. Great memories Pam. The 4th was a special day as a child. We too had our sparklers , snakes, and smoke bombs. Then we would put on our jammies and pile into the back of the station wagon. Dad would drive to Ruby Isle where we would watch fireworks from the parking lot.

    I also have fond memories of Robert Hall. My mother would take us there to get our Easter dresses and back to school clothes. I loved going there.


    • So glad you are enjoying reading these posts! I love sharing the memories for me as well as for you. I am glad grandpa never had you climbing up the ladder on the roof! LOL! But I have to admit, it was special in retrospect.


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