In my eighteen years, I’ve had my share of July 4th festivities. The memories that immediately come to mind are from my earliest celebrations, back when we used to live on the beach. Armed with a blanket and picnic hamper, we’d pile into our old golf cart and ride out to the ocean, staking a claim somewhere between the dunes and frothy waves.
As twilight settled into darkness, the fireworks would start, sometimes so close it seemed as if their shimmering sparks might land right on us. As a child, I was both terrified and exhilarated by this display, alternately using my hands to cover my ears from the booming sound and to point out those fireworks that seemed especially beautiful and mystifying.
Later, once we had relocated away from that original house on the beach, Fourth of July became all about evening gatherings with the family as we awaited the city’s annual fireworks display from the old aircraft carrier across the harbor. From our perch beside the water, it seemed as if that glittering display was two-fold, each firework reflecting off the water to create an even more spectacular showing.
Perhaps my favorite July 4th memory, however, didn’t even come in the United States in which we celebrate Independence Day. After a long day of travel, we had just arrived in Aruba for a summer vacation when we decided to take a twilight walk on the beach. With salt in our hair and sand on our clothes, we made our way down the wind swept beach. So caught up were we in the beauty around us, the sparkling sea and swaying trees, that we almost didn’t notice the first echoes of the fireworks as they shattered through the suddenly dark sky. And sitting once again in the sun-warmed sand, gazing at the fireworks with the same wonder I had had when I was still a toddler on a beach not unlike that one, I found that perhaps the best celebrations are those that you never even expected.
Find some fireworks this weekend, watch them by the water if you can, and enjoy these popsicles in all the glory of a summer night with friends and family. They’re obviously the perfect colors to celebrate our national holiday, but they also taste exactly like summer in frozen form. Bright watermelon, fresh blueberries, a hint of lemon and vanilla- simply perfect.
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Watermelon Blueberry Popsicles
Makes 6 popsicles in 3 ounce molds
around 4 cups fresh watermelon
juice of 1 lemon
pinch of salt
1-2 Tbs natural cane sugar
splash of vanilla extract
around 1/3 cup blueberries
Combine all ingredients except for the blueberries in a food processor until smooth. Divide the blueberries evenly amongst the molds and drop them into the bottom. Then fill each mold to the top with the watermelon puree. Freeze until hard, about three hours.
Note: If your popsicles molds don’t come with sticks, freeze the pops until they’re slushy, then place popsicles sticks in the mixture and freeze until set.