Let Freedom Sting

July 01, 2013

picnic

The bee was lying low just inside the rim of the glass. Until it made its move. Being stung on the lip is better than a mid-throat sting (or so we're told), but it still ain't pretty. This was how a friend kicked off last year's Fourth of July picnic. Forget what you've heard from beauty editors, bee-stung lips aren't worth the pain.

The early drama gave way to classic picnic tradition. We ate like kids. A small group of us took a 3-mile hike around the lake…so we could eat some more. People worked hard on those desserts. The fireworks were some of the best we'd seen. We cranked the synchronized music. Have you done this? We dare you not to get choked up when Lee Greenwood sings Proud to Be An American.

fireworks

And when the fireworks were over, the night wasn't. A stray mosquito here and there didn't scare us off. We had comfy blankets, food to spare and a lot of ground to cover. It had been a while since we sat together to catch up.

It wasn't long before we were one-upping each other with bee-sting stories. Three at once. A stinger next to someone's eye, which swelled shut shortly after (EpiPen to the rescue). The bee-stung lip. Stepping on a hornet's nest, the winner, hands down. The conversation turned from bee stings to break ups, the apps you eat and the ones you download. How the older you get sometimes the less you know for sure. How kids can be the loves of your life.

tiki torch

We talked about the people protecting our freedom, the people who have died for our freedom, and the awesome debt and gratitude we feel for something we can never fully repay. It got quiet then as we realized that freedom is never free or without loss. But being in each other's company, remembering the people before us and among us, soothes the sting, even just a little. Gone but never forgotten. Let freedom ring, friends.




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