Thursday, July 4, 2013


Today we proudly celebrate the 237th anniversary of the birth of our nation. As we all know by now (or should know), the actual signing of that glorious document of independence took place two days earlier on July 2nd by most of the colonial representatives. But the Continental Congress moved to adopt the text of the declaration on July 4, 1776, making that the date we celebrate as the day those thirteen colonies became one nation.

Anniversaries are wonderful. We remember and often celebrate so many things that happened in our past: the birth of our nation, the beginnings and ends of certain wars and even particular battles, our own birthdays and the birthdays of our loved ones, our wedding day; and the list goes on.
I had the pleasure last weekend to attend an open house to celebrate the 50th wedding anniversary of one of my cousins and his wife. It was a delightful event, filled with family and dear friends. I took great pleasure in reminding them that when they got married, I had just turned sixteen years old and was preparing to enter the tenth grade. I’m very sure that they appreciated my saying that! However, one of my greatest regrets is that I didn’t even know them back in 1963.I know that I would have loved going to their wedding.
Since my still-happy, anniversary-celebrating cousins are also in the process of moving from their home of many years, the open house took place at the house of some very close friends. A great number of people flowed in and out of the house, first signing a large, special “Anniversary Card” for the couple and then tasting some of the delicious food that had been carefully prepared and beautifully displayed.
Knowing how hard it is to move and downsize, I was enchanted at one of the clever ideas that was used to accomplish that reduction. Each attendee at the open house reached into a fish bowl as they entered the house and pulled out a small slip of paper with a number on it. Before leaving, that person was led to the staircase where a considerable number of books were set up with corresponding numbers sticking out of each one. Most of these books were cookbooks that had been published over the years by my cousins’ family publishing house. What a collection there was!
My number was 23. I was hoping for a seven, which is my favorite number. Seeing the number I drew, I was pretty sure I’d get a book that I would eventually have to “downsize” myself. Furthermore, I knew that I didn’t need any more cookbooks to add to my own not-so-small collection. (Not that I’m a cook, you understand, but I have got the books!)
As the person in the family who has been proclaimed the “family historian,” imagine my surprise to see the title of the book that I had picked.  This book will never be downsized - as you will most certainly understand.
Serendipity? Perhaps so. But it was definitely an extraordinary “anniversary” present for me!
@2013 Copyright by Carla Love Maitland