Fourth of July – Collard Green Muslim Style

29 Jun

I love Fourth of July weekend. For the last two years we trekked out to a historic parade site and sat in the sweltering heat two hours in advance to get front row seats. Inevitably one of our kids spills something on us, and themselves, that is sticky, of course, and we sit in it beneath the piercing sun, attracting flies, waiting for that dang parade. The youngest of our young’uns gets too tired, but has no place to sleep so he starts flailing and having a panic attack in front of the other crowd-weary parade goers. That’s how much I like the Fourth of July. Sometimes you have to suffer for the things you like. My kids get first dibs on candy, loud fire trucks and period costumes. I wear my red, white and blue hijab (scarf) to get into an even more festive mood.

Here I am here, with my very Arab husband. Our, then, eight year old son took this photo.

I had to hunch over a tarp with a bunch of other women on the side of the road at a souk in Morocco to fish for that hijab. I paid two bucks for it and tucked it in my shopping bag next to the carrots and fresh zucchini. Not bad, huh?

This year we have different plans and I want to hurry up and tell you about them in these precious few moments while my kids punk their brains out on a Power Rangers special. Yes, that is what they are doing right now. For shame, I know!

My Yankee friend from Amish country; the one I wrote about in this post, gave us the bright idea to go camping. She’s a planner; I’m not so much. I would never have thought about reserving my camp site three months in advance! Thank God I did because the best sites fill up quickly.

I love camping. It makes me feel like a bedouin…one tethered to a hot shower, a ready to fire up BBQ pit, and a giant inner tube to coast on the lake.

Yup, that’s me and my brood…and yes we did go down to the tune of my daughter belting out her signature Collard Green holler.

I’m not one for primitive camping; at least not in this stage of my life. When I have to go potty I want to sit on a toilet that flushes and when I smell like funk, I like to take a hot shower, and when my stomach growls I like to sit in a comfy lawn chair and watch my husband BBQ something I marinated without having to rub sticks together to start a fire. Oh…and I almost forgot….when I’m tuckered out, I want to sleep on an air mattress at least. The earth doesn’t feel so tender when it’s kissing your hip bone. I’m a mother; I can’t afford to suffer through a sleepless night just for the heck of it. I have to save my reserves for middle-of-the-night vomit tours or coughing triathlons which may strike at any time.

Maybe one day I’ll try camping in the middle of nowhere but for now I prefer four-star outdoor accommodations. That doesn’t mean you have to stay at a KOA where your neighbor is likely to pop out of his RV and invite you to a bingo game (or at least the glossy brochures make it seem like that).  State and national parks offer great accommodations without cheesy add-ons. Our family is getting to know as many Maryland State parks as we can travel to this summer as participants in the fabulous Maryland Park Quest program. So far, we have hiked, scavenged, and/or swam at seven state parks and each one has stopped us in our tracks at several points to ponder, in our own ways, at the awe-inspring beauty of God’s creation.

Our family is thrilled for the opportunity to participate in the Park Quest and grateful for the dedication of all those whose work made it possible. We hope to make it a regular part of our summer plans into the future. Here are some snap-shots of our adventures to leave you with. I hope that your family has a memorable 2011 Fourth of July Celebration. It’s a fine time to enjoy the great outdoors. I’d love to hear about your adventures.

Maryland Gunpowder Falls State Park

Here I am trying to maintain my balance on the river rocks which I managed to do. What a fine metaphor for motherhood. I ought to stamp that on my morning coffee cup.

We ran into wild raspberry bushes at the Chesapeake Bay and munched on them until we had our fill:

The youngest of the young’uns likes to hitch-hike here:

….and here at Susquehanna State Park in Maryland.

There is never a dull moment outdoors. I never hear my kids say: “I’m bored!”

We love state parks with living museums which give you a chance to both hike and learn something fascinating about the people who once lived there and imagine if we were one of them instead of one of us.

The best part, by far, is the views which makes us wonder; if the earth is this beautiful what must heaven be like? Happy travels…from the mountains to the praire….from sea to shining sea!

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One Response to “Fourth of July – Collard Green Muslim Style”

  1. Sholeh Norrochim July 4, 2011 at 3:19 am #

    I fancy about trekking like you have did. found a shallow river in the middle of forest/mountain with very clean water. your family was great, especially the kids were awesome !

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