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A Sparkling Evening

Making Home Work
by Kate Wolford

Published: Friday, July 14, 2017

We just had the best Fourth of July in years, thanks to a visit from my sister and her two girls. It's been years since they've been to see us, and Charlotte, 15, and Caroline, 11, lit up our house like a couple of sparklers.

My sister Amy and her husband Stan have managed to raise two girls who are funny and smart; they are good girls, but not so good that they aren't entertaining. Nobody likes a dull goody two-shoes. If you're a kid and your mother doesn't have to call you out for smart remarks every now and again, you're doing childhood wrong.

We did the usual things while they were here: Bought books, ate too much food that none of us regularly eats, watched the Simpsons, and talked a lot. That's pretty much a common type of gathering for my family. Books and food figure prominently in our family life, and, to be honest, so does TV. But, thankfully, unlike some of my other family members, Amy did not insist on talking politics and watching cable news all day. It's not that we disagree on political matters. We don't. My family members, for the most part, are entirely, on one side of the political spectrum. (And, anyway, at the ripe age of 55, I'd never shock my parents by switching parties. And please do not assume you know how I affiliate politically. I'll never say so here.) I'm just exhausted by talking about it these days.

Being with young people was refreshing. They have so much energy! They messed around with makeup, played with the cats and said many hilarious things that I should have written down.

The best parts were watching them eat corn from Sweet Corn Charlie and seeing them hold sparklers for the first time in their lives. Eating the corn brought forth comments like, "It's like I've had corn before!" And, "You don't even need butter on it!" They told Todd and me, prior to eating our corn, "We have great corn where we live!"

"Yeah, sure," we replied. Then we waited. And their enjoyment made eating corn ourselves even better. We had some good meals while they were here.

But the best part was the small, legal fireworks display Todd put on in the driveway. Because of laws in the Maryland county they live in, neither girl had ever so much as held a sparkler. So, even though Charlotte is a teen and Caroline is a tween, they were enraptured. They dueled around the driveway, as their uncle lit one sparkler after another. They oohed and ahhd over bottle rockets and something with the name "pyro,"—and it lived up to it.

But the best part came when Caroline came racing toward me after the last rocket sizzled out. She pointed into the yard, "Look Aunt Kate! Nature's fireworks!"

The yard was full of fireflies.

And there you have the visit.

If you'd like to share your own home memories or tips (or recipes), send ideas to Or you can write me via traditional mail at The Farmer's Exchange, P.O. Box 45, New Paris, IN 46553.

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