We forgot to bring a camera along, so I hope you'll be willing to follow my descriptions with a notable lack of pictures. It was a very nice day, which we took at a nice, leisurely pace.
This year, Independence Day falls on a Sunday, today. Because I'm one of those freaky church-going folk (if you're missing the self-depreciating humor, please, start at the beginning again), most of our celebrations were yesterday.
The day started out with a breakfast for each of the three wards (congregations) that meet at our building… at our building (a.k.a. the meetinghouse). We arrived late, but as I told Cimmy, I sincerely doubted that the food would be all wolfed down after only 20-30 minutes. And so it was, especially as I noticed food was still being made when cleanup started. Pancakes, eggs, and sausage was the fare, with some fresh whole apricots afterwards. All quite delicious, but it was hard to keep the plasticware from blowing away as it was cold and windy. After eating and chatting, I helped with putting away the chairs and tables. I even got Princess to help me out; she is settling in nicely with taking on more work responsibilities.
After that was cleanup of the building; we used to have professionals come in for deep cleaning, but that was cut back. It wasn't all that long ago that our church had paid custodial staff, but these days, congregation members are assigned to help with more and more of the cleaning duties. I think it's a good thing, as I've been able to meet people more and socialize. Because I approach floor cleaning with near surgerical precision (and we were asked to clean well because of the cutbacks), I was the second to last person to leave. Heh heh. But all of it went very, very quickly; I was pleasantly surprised. I rounded up Cimmy and the kids from the nursery rooms; it was easier to keep Jak Jr. occupied there. We locked the last door, and proceeded on with our plans.
The next step was to pick up the canning jars I'd promised to my mother-in-law and fill a water jug with drinking water at the laundromat. While stopping off home, I peeled off my then-sweaty short-sleeved T-shirt, took a quick shower and shaved, and changed into a blue long-sleeved tee. Then it was off to my parents' house, as my mother had purchased patriotic-themed T-shirts for the kids. Wow. Princess's shirt was purple and happened to match her pants perfectly, and Jak Jr.'s red tee looked quite stunning. They had been wearing long sleeved shirts, so I'm sure the swap to short sleeves was more comfortable. Can't say Cimmy and I had the same opportunity… I did take pictures of the kids with my parents' camera, so as soon as I can get those photos, I'll put them up. We chatted with my father for a while, Cimmy took a nap, I called my in-laws, and then we were off again.
I like driving old highways. Generally there are less aggressive bozos driving too fast. We were running close to empty, too, so I wanted to drive slower taking that route on Hwy 22. (This was not a bad thing– it meant later we were able to fill up in the Lower Yakima Valley for cheaper compared to home.) But first, we went up to Exit 80 to the rest stop at Prosser. Cimmy really, really wanted tacos, so it was lunch at the Taco Bell/KFC (Yum Foods is known to combine some of their restaurants together; A&W also makes up part of the combo in some locations).
The wind was still nice. I still wanted to fly kites pretty bad, especially as I had packed the flight bag. Never got the opportunity, but that was okay.
Because Saturday was NOT a holiday, Cimmy really wanted to visit the DairyFair at the Sunnyside Dairygold plant. And why yes, we were in luck! They were open. So we opted to take a self-guided tour to see the cheese making machinery, and we all had ice cream cones afterwards. The ladies and I did just fine, but Jak Jr. is still at an age where he can't avoid a mess, especially with the heaping huge scoop they gave him. To give you an idea of the portions, see my father-in-law's picture here (from their last trip there). Since my waffle cone broke just perfectly, some of his ice cream conveniently landed into the empty half (wink wink, nudge nudge) and since he would not get to it before it turned into ice cream soup, eating it fell to me.
We also purchased some cheese curds to snack on. So, I-Luv-Eeyore, I was wrong… cheese curds and cottage cheese are not the same thing. It's just the cheese one step earlier from processing it further into a wheel, loaf, or whatever. It also doesn't have the vegetable-based coloring added yet that some cheeses get, like cheddar. It still has air bubbles in it, and Cimmy remarked that Laura Engalls Wilder (of the Little House book series) was right– it does squeak when you bite it. So I'll have to try my hand at poutine again sometime, and it's time to see if Strive2Be is paying attention.
Leslie (my mother-in-law) called twice while we were at the plant. Cimmy still had her phone turned off. We called back. They had already had dinner at 16:30. I kinda figured as much. No biggie. I still took the leisurely route on the old highway. When we got to their house, my father-in-law showed me the T-shirt kite he'd made. They are going to the beach on Monday, and he plans to get his flight time in then. And yes, I'll share a picture as soon as he uploads one. It's made with a real T-shirt for the body, with tails that look like pants.
Then it was time to pick gooseberries. Here's a close-up picture my father-in-law took of that bush. Yes, that is a THORN. Yes, they HURT. But Princess helped L and I make a good dent in it despite being pricked several times, and we now have plenty of gooseberries to add to our still large heap of Granny Smith apple slices to make pies and such with (from the apples we got from Vecina). I was just sorry we didn't get them all, and left some of them behind. It would have been the least I could do for being given such a nice opportunity, right?
Princess and I took a short walk to see some of the murals and the western-themed shops. The city tries very hard to have a Western look, but it is very sad to see how urban decay has set in over the years. They simply need more money for a full restoration, and a more comprehensive solution to the element of gangs and poverty-driven crime.
No fireworks to be seen at the Rodeo/Pow-Wow grounds. I knew Toppenish had a parade earlier in the day, but I guess they were saving fireworks for tonight as everyone else seems to be doing. We did see some homeowners setting off fireworks on the way home, however. The last stretch was tough, as Jak Jr. woke up during our pit stop at the Desert Mart in Benton City, and I was stubborn enough to travel a stretch of road still under construction, but we finally called it a day and got home safe.