Our July 4 celebrations and memories at Laurel

by Mary Ann on June 28, 2011


fireworks pictures

Happy 4th of July from Laurel, MT

I grew up with a rolling stone, my dad. He liked to move and was forever looking for new ideas and new opportunities. He and my mom had nine children but until they hit number 9 they moved around quite a bit. I went to half a dozen grade schools and three high schools. I finished out my high school career in a new school in a new state. Who in the heck does that!!! Well, those were the days when if mom and dad moved ALL the kids moved too.

My husband grew up in the same town, Aurora, CO, all his life. He did live in two homes and that was a BIG move for his family. When we married my rolling stone nature rubbed off I guess and for the first ten years of our married life together we moved quite often; to college, out to work, to college, out to work, to college…you get the picture.

laurel mt pictures

Laurel, MT a railroad town filled with refineries

Then we moved to Montana and lived in three different homes until we landed in Laurel. That was a turning point for us and we found ourselves planted for twenty one years. For me that was an amazing experience to be in one place for twenty one years. I liked the feeling of having some roots, of belonging someplace.

Laurel was a small town then of about 7000 people. You could cross it from one side to the other in about five minutes. It is a bigger town now, about 10-12 thousand.

There are some real advantages to small town living. One day I got a call from the bank. “Mary Ann we have a check here from a casino in _______ and were pretty sure that you didn’t write it.” My check book had been stolen. That call saved me lots of money and frustration.

As a girl I had never learned how to balance a check book. So one day when I was in a huge mess I visited the bank with a stack of about 12 check registers and asked for some help. The sweet woman that I talked with took my stack of check registers home, balanced the whole thing and then taught me how to do it every month. Cost, exactly zip!!!

I had seven children and they caught lots of illness over the years. Ear infections were common, as were sore throats. I would call my trusty general practitioner (there are no specialists in small towns) and say, Robert, Marie isn’t feeling well and has a green runny nose. I’m sure she has an ear infection. Will you call something in?” “Sure Mary. You’ve seen enough ear infections to know”.

spectacular fireworks picture

Laurel swells from 10,000 to 40,000 on the 4th of July

Here is something else quite unique about this small town. They have a fire works display to DIE for. I am not kidding. The Laurel fireworks display is so magnificent that on the Fourth of July the population in town swells to 30-40 thousand people. They all want to see the most spectacular fireworks display in the state of Montana. The firemen stand at the exit from the freeway with black rubber boots and collect money to pay for the show. About two weeks before the big day the fire engine rolls through town stopping on every street and the firemen knock on doors collecting.

july 4 pictures kids

The 4th of July is all about kids in Laurel, MT

Our family loved and really celebrated the Fourth of July. We would pack up a large cooler full of watermelon, fried chicken, potato salad and treats and head to the park at about 2:00pm. We would stake out our space with blankets and then just chill out while the kids ran all over the park meeting friends, watching the parade and blowing off fireworks. Neighbors and friends would walk by and we’d have a good chat. I loved it.

You are asking yourself, “Good grief, when was this, 1950? How old is this woman anyway!!!” Well, this is how it was right up until we left in 2003, bank, doctor, fireworks and all.

So we are going home and meeting up with most of our children and their children to celebrate July 4th and weave new memories. We are looking forward to laying on a blanket in the park all afternoon and renewing old friendships. We are looking forward to fried chicken, watermelon and potato salad eaten with lots of laughter. We are looking forward to the most spectacular fireworks display in the state of Montana!

I will not be posting again until next Wednesday. However, Friday I have a dynamic guest blogger, Bonita Sutton, who will help you help your kids do some creative thinking. She is a science queen and her kids LOVE it, Let children learn science the fun way. Be sure and enjoy their video of what happens when you microwave soap. Trust me; you don’t want to miss it!

Happy Fourth of July!


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