There are only a few times where I really miss my childhood. For the most part, it was a painful and awkward and intimidating time of my life.
But the Fourth of July makes me ache.
There's nothing like the Fourth of July in a small town. The smell of a hundred different barbecues wafting through the air. The turtle race. The celebration on the courthouse square, with its face painting and balloon animals and cotton candy creations. The pucker of a sour pickle sno-cone. The crack of a bat at the little league park. The floats made of newspaper and crepe streamers and 7th grade dreams. The squeal of a child as he scrambles for the sticks of Juicy Fruit gum thrown from the parade route. The rodeo, with its tight jeans and giant buckles and Stetson hats and red cups of beer. And the rodeo dance. Oh, the rodeo dance. Where everyone's parents are permitted to live like teenagers for just that night only. The cool of the lake water splashing against your feet as you watch the fireworks overhead.
I miss you hometown. Today, the big city has nothing on you.