Happy July 4th

These super hot days are about to get the best of me! I have my air conditioner on and usually at least one fan to keep the air circulating, and I stay in the house as much as possible. You would not think there would be any mosquitoes around, but I was outside seeing a friend off a while ago and now have about 10 stings to show for it! My yard looks good as the yard man and his helper were here this week and the helper managed to get all the grass out of the flower bed next to my house. My neighbor gave me several plants of a red canna lily and I got them planted when it was after 8:00 p.m., to give them a chance at growing. So far they look good.
The month of June is almost over and with it so is half of the year. The time has truly flown by, and now we get to see how quickly the rest of the year will go!
Independence Day, or July 4th, as we most usually call it, is one of the few holidays that is actually celebrated on the day upon which it falls. It is not celebrated on the nearest Monday to make for a long weekend. This year it is on a Tuesday, so that means the people who have off that day, will have only that day off. It is nice when it falls on Friday or Monday so folks have that long weekend, isn’t it? Independence Day is probably the most important secular holiday celebrated here in the United States, commemorating, as it does, the adoption by the Continental Congress of the Declaration of Independence, which announced the breaking of ties between the 13 American Colonies and England.
America celebrates July 4 as Independence Day, because it was on July 4, 1776, that members of the Second Continental Congress, meeting in Philadelphia, adopted the final draft of the Declaration of Independence.
Thomas Jefferson wrote the first draft of the Declaration of Independence in two and one half weeks. The Declaration begins with one of the most famous sentences in the entire world.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”
The original signers of the Declaration of Independence held various occupations. Twenty-four were lawyers, fourteen were farmers, nine were merchants, 4 were physicians, one was a gospel minister and last but not least, one was a manufacturer, (of what I do not know). John Hancock, who was the president of the Second continental congress, signed his name the biggest and boldest of all the signers. In fact, the term “John Hancock” has become synonymous with “signature”. How many times have you heard the term, “Just put your John Hancock, right on this line”? It is a very old term, and isn’t used as much as it was in earlier times. Congress in 1941 declared July 4th a federal legal holiday.
If you are in a place where fireworks are allowed, do not ever hold fireworks such as bottle rockets, firecrackers or anything else in your hands, this is one of the foremost causes of injuries. Also, never, under any circumstances should you fire a gun into the air. The bullet comes back down at a considerable speed and can kill on impact. A young girl in San Antonio lost her life in just that way, several years ago.
If you are planning a trip over the holiday, always remember to be careful of “the driver of the car, in the car behind the car in front of you!” In other words, pay attention to what you are doing at all times. Keep your mind on your driving, keep your hands on the wheel, and keep your eyes watching your surroundings. Be aware of what is going on in front of you, behind you (that’s what rear-view and side mirrors are for), and beside you on each side. Stay off the phone; don’t try to text and drive. If you have a call, pull over and park before talking. It is difficult to talk and drive at the same time.
Wherever you celebrate this holiday, keep as cool as possible, drink plenty of liquids (other than alcoholic), to replace body fluids lost through perspiration, and take care not to get overheated. Do not forget to protect yourself with sunscreen. A bad sunburn is one of the most miserable and uncomfortable things there is. The best cure, of course is prevention, but if you do happen to get sunburned, milk of magnesia, kept in the fridge and gently patted on, is a great antidote. Also, cooled, brewed tea patted on, or even just cloths repeatedly wrung out in cold water will help ease the burning. There are many excellent commercial products on the market, but these are all old timers, that work.
Always remember to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold if you go on a picnic or just have a picnic in your back yard. Keep food and drinks in separate coolers, as a cooler with drinks will be opened more frequently.
The following chicken salad is simple to make and very tasty. If you want it spicy, use a spicier picante sauce. There is no mayonnaise involved, so this keeps well.
Cinco de Mayo Chicken Salad
1/2 cup bottled chili sauce (Heinz, DelMonte)
4 tablespoons picante sauce (mild, medium or hot)
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon chili powder
Mix above ingredients together and set aside.
2½ to 3 cups cooked, diced chicken
4 sliced green onions (tops too)
1 small green bell pepper, diced
1 avocado, peeled and diced
Mix these ingredients together, add dressing and mix lightly until all ingredients are coated. Garnish with additional avocado, if desired. Serve with tortilla chips.
Savory Seasoned Burgers
2 pounds lean ground meat
1 teaspoon garlic salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
8 hamburger buns.
Heat grill. In medium bowl, combine all ingredients except buns; mix well. Shape mixture into 8 patties. To barbecue, place patties on gas grill over medium-high heat, or on charcoal grill 4 to 6 inches from medium-high coals. Cook 10 to 15 minutes or until meat is no longer pink, turning once. (It’s time to turn the meat when you see little dribbles down the sides of the patties.)
Serve on buns with lettuce, sliced tomato and onion, if desired.
Baked Beans
2 cans pork & beans 15-oz size or 1 can 32-oz size
½ cup chopped onion
½ cup diced green bell pepper
¾ cup brown sugar
¾ cup prepared barbecue sauce
Several strips, thin-sliced bacon
Preheat oven to 350ºF. dice bacon and fry until crisp. Drain well on paper towels and set aside. In 1½ to 2 quart round casserole dish, combine beans with remaining ingredients. Mix together. Sprinkle bacon pieces on top. Bake uncovered for 40 to 45 minutes.