I remember the summer of 1976, this year as one of the finest of my life. For some reason I spent most of the time with my fathers parents (my grandparents) that year. It was a the bicentennial summer and my grandfather, Paul Aylward, was a delegate to the Democratic convention in New York. My grandfather was a country lawyer/farmer from Ellsworth, Kansas who was a life long Democrat. He had run for the open U.S. Senate seat in 1960 and lost in a close election. My grandfather was one of the first Jimmy Carter delegates, I’m not really sure why, since I was only 12 years old at the time. Maybe it was the farmer connection with Carter, who was a peanut farmer. We stayed in the same hotel as Carter and I attended at least one session of the convention.
I spent July 4th that year in Boston with my aunt and uncle and two cousins. I did all the American history stuff (Lexington, Concord, Paul Revere’s Ride, etc), but the highlight was the Tall Ships on July 4th and the fireworks celebration that evening. My memory of where we watched the ships and fireworks from is hazy, but it was near water. I doubt that I will ever see a Independence Day celebration as festive or special as that one.
I’ll always remember that summer, for the Tall Ships, the bicentennial, and to be included in the political life of my grandfather, may he rest in peace.