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Posted: July 3, 2011 1:00 a.m.

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Rowe: Celebrating Independence Day

I am looking forward to a long holiday weekend doing absolutely nothing. You know you've got a bad case of the summertime blahs when you look forward to doing nothing. Sometimes you stay so busy doing nothing is a welcome relief but it rarely works like that. June has been quite a busy month with birthdays, holidays, baby showers and weddings filling nearly every weekend, but, finally, we get an extra day to kick back and relax a little.

There's no shortage of things to do this weekend, if only I can talk ‘Sweet Pea' in to it. The three day Sunflower Festival in Rutledge promises to be fun, but Sweet Pea says the idea of strolling through fields of sunflowers in the heat doesn't appeal to him and he said "where's there's flowers, there's bees." I told him there'd be hayrides, tours and entertainment, too, but that still didn't do the trick.

There's also an Evening with Fireflies, which sounds like a lot of fun, but Sweet Pea doesn't like bugs of any kind, even whimsical little lightning bugs. The idea of a casual picnic dinner sounds great to me - no cooking! But Sweet pea's idea of a picnic consists of beef jerky, beanie weenies, pork rinds, pimento cheese sandwiches and root beer. That wasn't exactly the picnic fare I had in mind and I'm not even sure it would appeal to those pesky picnic ants. I still enjoy watching lightning bugs light up the summer nights and even at my age I've been known to help kids catch a few in a Mason jar.

There's music and fireworks on Sunday in Covington and Monday in Social Circle so we could get our fill of entertainment. I love all kinds of music, so, a little rock and roll followed by gospel sounds pretty good to me. Good music makes you feel good and before long you'll be clapping, whistling and tapping your feet to the beat. Sweet Pea has two left feet so he might insist on coming home early if I get the urge to dance.

If I get really lucky, I might be able to talk Sweet Pea into a trip to Stone Mountain to see the Laser Show. We haven't been in several years since the kids were little. Spending the day at Stone Mountain used to be filled with fun - steamboat rides, train trips, a little swimming and a hike up the mountain.

Luckily, I can still see the top of the mountain via the incline because otherwise it might well take me half a day to get to the top and another half day to get back down. Whoever said it was a breathtaking experience certainly got it right!

The last time I attempted climbing the mountain, it was indeed a breathtaking experience - all the way to the top. Other hikers passed us with ease and some even made the trip up and back down while we were still navigating our way up, one step at a time, followed by a few moments to catch our breath. Few people know it, but that was a record setting day - I'm quite sure I set several new records that day (and I bet they haven't been broken since) - for the longest climb up and back down as well as the longest time spent on the mountain top.

Once I finally reached the top, I was perfectly content to linger a bit and just gaze at the stars and twinkling lights from the Atlanta skyline but my husband insisted on making the long trip back down before dark so we could see the laser show.

The whole family has made several trips to Stone Mountain to fulfill Momma's wish to see the Laser Show. So we loaded up the cars with chairs, blankets and ice coolers, got to the park and unpacked the cars and made our way to Confederate Lawn and settled in for a spectacular show. We got a spectacular show all right but not exactly the one we were hoping for. You ain't gonna believe this, but every time we went with Momma and Daddy, one of those random pop up summer thunderstorms came up just before the show started. We're not just talking a little shower or a sprinkle - I mean to tell you it came up a frog strangler. Daddy said it was more like a monsoon - heavy downpours, thunder and lightning and it gave the Laser Show a whole new meaning. Momma says she must have jinxed it somehow but we've not been able to convince them to give it one more try since.

Not everybody has the luxury of enjoying the holiday off from work like me but I think Opie, Sassy, Little Bit and I are gonna make the most of it. I'm going to fill up their little wading pool, turn on the sprinkler and get out the Slip ‘n Slide and I bet it won't take long before we'll be joined by some neighborhood kids looking for a little fun. We may throw a few wieners on the grill, definitely toast a few marshmallows, and before we call it a night we just might see how many lightning bugs we can catch. That's my idea of fun and entertainment, lame as it may be. Whatever your plans are for the holiday weekend, I hope you have a safe and happy Fourth of July!!

Beth Rowe may be reached at

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