So I know what you’re thinking, “is this girl kidding me July 4th was more than a week ago, I’m over it.” But I think, better late than never, right? Plus the happenings of a successful long weekend home in New York are worth sharing, trust me. First off, in an effort to avoid the inevitable 4 mile backup that surrounds the Chesapeake Bay Bridge tunnel, I utilized the directions my boss, a seasoned commuter, provided. These directions took me on and off the highway more than once, and in and out of a diverse collection of villages and hamlets. Trusting my boss’s printed directions with every turn despite road signs to the contrary, I arrived unscathed and with an hour to spare for my flight home at Norfolk international.
Confession: my actual purpose for going home was not to eat hot dogs, wear denim and listen to “Born in the USA,” on repeat as cohorts of mosquitoes feast on my ankles. The real motivation behind the schlep home to New York was for my Father’s birthday. The man, the myth, the legend, my dad, Ira, who I’m sure is the reason behind so many of my idiosyncrasies, was turning a number I will not disclose in this public setting (though knowing him he would not care). For my mom, my brother, and me going out to dinner for my dad’s birthday is all about celebrating with loved ones and being there for him. For my dad, his birthday dinner is about all of that, and the fact that it’s the one time a year he indulges in what may rightly be called the most famous steak house in all the land: Peter Luger’s Restaurant. Having been spoiled by my meat and wine studded trip to Argentina, I was not expecting the same mouth watering appeal. However, as the medium rare hunk of perfectly prepared porterhouse steak was placed before me, I realized I would never be too jaded for Peter Lugers. The delicious, succulent meat and terrific side dishes were only matched by the wonderful company that attended the meal, and I knew my dad felt the same way.
So July 4th finally arrived and in normal Schulman tradition we made our way to our closest family friend’s house to take part in your typical holiday festivities. Located only two towns north of us, our friend’s home always felt like a Shangri-La of sorts, a getaway from the bustling suburbs. Equipped with a pool, a garden that produced fresh fruits and vegetables ripe for the picking, and an endless supply of guacamole, most of my summer holidays were spent poolside and this July 4th was no exception. But the highlights of this particular gathering differed slightly from the usual. My dad, having spotted that day’s New York Times out of the corner of his eye, grabbed the paper and without a second thought began reciting the reprinted copy of the Declaration of Independence that appears every July 4th. Following the epic reading, we all gathered around the TV to watch the movie musical,1776, a personal favorite of mine, that tells the story of how 13 diverse colonies formed a nation. This is my family, and this is how we spent July 4th.