Most people don't understand when I tell them my favorite holiday is Fourth of July. I'm sure much of this love has to do with my childhood experiences in my family's adorable little hometown in Oklahoma. It was the quintessential, all-American, Normal Rockwell-style holiday.
Every Fourth of July morning, we'd get up, throw on our swimsuits, our red, white, and blue cover ups, and whatever flip flops we'd wrapped in stars and stripes fabric and ribbon. We'd join the rest of the town for the Main Street parade. We waved our flags and put our hands over our hearts as the high school football team, cheerleaders, marching band, firefighters, and kids on decorated bikes--including Miss and Mr. Firecracker--went by. I loved every minute.
After the parade, we'd spend the day at our place at the nearby man-made lake. We'd have sandwiches, chips, and lots and lots of watermelon for lunch, followed by more swimming and a big bowl of homemade ice cream. As evening set in, we'd head home, shower, put on another patriotic outfit, and head to the ball park for fireworks. Some years we took a blanket and laid out on the grass, but my favorite memories are of setting up folding chairs in the back of my Pappo's pickup truck. I always felt so important sitting way up on a chair in the back of a truck. Never mind the long row of trucks doing the same thing--I felt special. We listened to a local singer or band perform the National Anthem, then we settled down to watch the fireworks show, which always ended with lighting the sparkler flag on the backfield fence. It was perfect.
We don't live in Oklahoma anymore and I miss it most on Fourth of July. But this year, I'm bringing a little Arizona flavor to our Fourth of July. My whole family loves Sangria, so I put an all-American spin on it. We won't have the kind of Fourth of July I grew up with, but at least we'll have a tasty and patriotic poolside drink.
Red, White, and Blue Sangria
an "Apple a Day" original
1 (750 mL) bottle dry white wine
1 (12 oz.) can pear nectar
1 c. apple brandy
1 c. blueberries
1 c. cherries, pitted and halved
1 c. sliced strawberries
2 very large crisp apples
1. Pour all ingredients except apples into a large pitcher. Stir to combine.
2. To make apple stars, thinly slice cheeks of one apple. Using a small star-shaped cookie or pie crust cutter, cut out as many stars as possible. Add to pitcher and cover top with plastic wrap. Allow flavors to combine in the refrigerator at least four hours before serving.