How To Have A Happy 1980's 4th of July

For those of us who grew up in the 1980’s the 4th of July was the event of the summer. This year show your family what the best summer holiday was like back in the day.
Wake everyone up with a breakfast of eggs, bacon and pancakes covered in butter. Don't worry, you can go jogging with the other moms tomorrow, if you're not too hungover. Dress the kids (and the mister) in the colors of the flag. Pull the girl's hair back with their red, white and blue ribbon barrettes.

Table clothes, napkins and plates should not only represent every color of the American flag, but should match as well. Decorations should be plentiful with bunting, mini flags for the kids and a home flag waving proudly out front.
Start your day with the annual 4th of July parade, nearly every city and town has one, or at least they used to. Wave your flags and cheer while balancing at least one child on your shoulders. They need to see too. The other kids can run ahead with the eleven-year-old who babysits when you go for drinks with the mister, The Millers and The Joneses (showoffs) every Friday night. What? She has her babysitter's certificate.

Afterward, you can head back home for the neighborhood cookout where people will wander in and out of your house, to use the bathroom and refill the ice bucket, until dark.
Make sure the desserts are as festive as your attire. Impress the neighbors with your colorful and patriotic flag cake—red strawberries, white frosting and blueberries make this one a winner. A white frosted Bundt cake with red and blue sprinkles also works. Rocket pops and snow cones are great for the kids. Copious amounts of sugar will allow them to stay up late into the night so they don’t miss a moment of the fireworks show, or Mr. Miller throwing up off the side of the deck after a few too many. 
Put away the propane or gas grill and roll out the charcoal grill or, if you're especially adventurous, the hibachi. Pick up a bag of charcoal when you hit the hardware store. Keep the menu simple with 1980’s American cookout staples—hot dogs with beans, cheeseburgers (with orange processed cheese), and kielbasa. Oh, and what cookout would be complete without corn on the cob with yellow corn cob holders? Also at the hardware store. Don’t forget the salads—pasta and potato. And a bean or 7-layer dip is a must, as are pigs in a blanket.
Set your radio to the sounds of the oldies or make a mix tape. Any song circa the 70’s or 80’s mentioning America, freedom or the 4th of July works. When thinking retro patriotism, think classic favorites like Chicago’s “Saturday in the Park,” anything by CCR or “American Pie” by Don McLean.
Drinks in flag colors recall simpler times. Anything that can be blended, shaken or stirred and poured into a red, white and/or blue plastic cup is perfect. Serve the kids Shirley Temples or a classic American favorite, Coca-Cola.
The sounds of kids running amok in the neighborhood, Lord of the Flies style, can be enjoyed and ignored while the adults get sloshed. Remember free-range parenting is best. Let them ride bikes sans helmet while humming along to the portable radio they carry in the white basket attached to the front of their Huffy bike. The sounds should be heard throughout the neighborhood and provide the ideal retro ambient noise. 

And let the kids show their American pride with sparklers. Relax, no one is going to lose a finger, or an eye. Watch as they chase fireflies in the front yard and throw white snappers at each others feet.  All while the adults drink Long Island Ice Teas and Singapore Slings as they play lawn darts. Hey kids, watch out these things are sharp. And if lawn darts aren't your thing, they'll be ping pong in the garage turned into a rec room for summer. 
And make sure to pass out firecrackers, a staple of any throwback 4th of July. Don't let Billy have any. He's only three. Tommy is old enough at six though. No one will get hurt. Be sure to cover your ears, they are loud. And after you have your own illegal amateur fireworks show in the backyard, go see the real show thrown by the town. Whether sitting on a grassy, hillside lawn on Main Street or lounging on a sandy beach, fireworks are the best way to wrap up an already glorious day. 

After the vibrant and colorful finale, you can carry the tired, semi-conscious mosquito-bitten kids back to the car and head home. When they wake up itching in the middle of the night, break out the Calamine lotion and cotton balls, used Bingo blotter style, whle they help you count the bites. And don't worry about searching your kids for ticks. We certainly didn't in 1980-something. 

Now get to sleep. Tomorrow you have to put on your tube socks and head for a jog. 

Happy 1980's 4th of July!!!!
Retro 4th of July Playlist 

*If you click on the link above it will take you to my Spotify playlist which contains the songs below. 

  • Saturday In The Park (Chicago)
  • We're Coming to America (Neil Diamond)
  • Born In The U.S.A (Bruce Springsteen)
  • Born on the Bayou (CCR)
  • Philadelphia Freedom (Elton John
  • On the 4th of July (James Taylor)
  • American Pie (Don McLean)
  • America (Simon & Garfunkel
  • American Girl (Tom Petty)
  • Living in America (James Brown)
  • Kids in America (Kim Wilde)
  • Hot Fun in the Summertime (Sly & The Family Stone
  • Mungo Jerry (In the Summertime)

1 comment:

  1. I appreciate a retro list that is truly retro. Half the time I see people put together something that is two years old with the claim that is old school.


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