Enjoy these Front Porch Moments from Bill and share your favorites with your family and friends. He'd love to meet you at Front Porch ice cream events. Oh, and by the way, his favorite flavor is Sweetie Tea.
July is Celebration Month
July is a big celebration month. Just one date of the month, The Fourth of July, denotes one of the biggest celebrations of the year without even having to explain that it’s officially Independence Day.
America, particularly here in the South, is big on festivals. We have so much to be proud of we take every opportunity to have a party and announce the festivity to the rest of the world. There is a festival to celebrate every thing at some time all year long: flowers (Azaleas, etc.), fruits (Peach, Blueberry, Strawberry, etc.), vegetables (Collards, Watermelon, etc.), insects (Wooly Worm, Bole Weevil, etc.), animals (Mule Day, White Squirrel, etc.), seafood (Shrimp, Shad, etc.), poultry-- including turkey--, and even the water. Of course, this is an incomplete list. A list of all the celebrations in the towns and cities throughout the South-or even just the Carolinas- would take up more space that I’m allowed.
But more important than the official, public celebrations are those private commemorations that are a part of each of our lives. Every part of our lives, from the day we are born until the day we die, is celebrated in some way. Not only do we celebrate the birth of a baby but we observe that momentous occasion on the same date every year thereafter.
Every milestone in our lives deserves recognition. As I look back at my life, I remember those times.
Friends and family got together to congratulate the high school and college graduate on completing that step in their formal education.
For many of us, we went to our first dance party held in somebody’s garage on Valentine’s Day.
Easter meant going to church in our newest spring clothes. That afternoon we celebrated on somebody’s lawn by looking for real boiled eggs—and eati them after we found them!
We celebrated Christmas and Thanksgiving by going to church followed by a meal with all the family home from college or the Armed Service along with those from just down the road a piece.
Then there were the wonderful ice cream socials, a chance to get together with the friends we saw every day and meet new ones, to hone our social skills while eating ice cream and maybe flirt a little.
One of the greatest rewards for winning a ballgame was the sometimes rowdy celebration afterward at a local café.
Music and dance recitals, art exhibits, plays and choral presentations warranted receptions afterward so the guests and artists could celebrate the result of months of hard work.
At our house, the grades on our report cards were usually cause for celebration. Sometimes they were very subdued occasions.
Wedding celebrations ranged from small ceremonies in somebody’s backyard to gala events with numerous attendants and parties both near and far.
New jobs or job promotions were celebratory occasions.
Although funerals were sad occasions, they did give us a chance to celebrate the life of someone near and dear to us. Unfortunately, funerals are often the only time extended families get together anymore.
Of course, all of these celebrations didn’t and don’t take place only in the month of July.
But they do have one thing in common: food. Food is a big part of our Southern culture. Whether it’s prepared in the kitchen or on the grill, eaten at home or in a restaurant; we love to eat. By the way, ice cream (maybe its own food group) is a big part of almost every celebration.
July is National Ice Cream Month, another major reason to celebrate. Thought I’d just throw that in.
About Bill Thompson
For over 40 years, Bill Thompson has traveled the Carolinas delighting folks with his commentary on Southern staples: food, farming, music, family and neighbors. He's been the master of ceremonies for hundreds of events celebrating the things that make the South special - from the Hollering Contest in Spivey's Corner to the Wolly Worm Festival in Banner Elk, the Grits Festival in South Carolina, and he's even judged a sweet tea contest in Georgia. In the process, he's had the chance to meet some fine Southerners and hear their own stories. He's authored three books, one named, "Sweet Tea, Fried Chicken and Lazy Dogs: A Reflection of North Carolina Life."