A Perfect Fourth

I had a wonderful Fourth of July yesterday: pretty much perfect in every way. The weather was wonderful (not-too-hot, sunny, low humidity), the company charming, the events engaging, the food was great, the fireworks AMAZING, and I got to take an afternoon nap in the midst of it all. Just a perfect day. It started out with the traditional reading of the Declaration of Independence on Salem Common, then it was off to the Willows for the (again, traditional) Horribles Parade (rather tame this year in terms of political satire but I appreciated the historical perspective), then back home for lunch, and an hour or so of one of my favorite classic Revolutionary War-era films, The Devil’s Disciple (1959), followed by the aforementioned blissful nap, during which my husband and stepson were out checking our traps for a bounty of HUGE lobsters. Drinks in the garden, then off to Salem’s newest restaurant, Ledger, for the best burger I’ve ever had. We then made our way along Derby Street through huge crowds assembling for the fireworks to a friends’ harborside house, where we watched the most amazing fireworks display I’ve ever seen. Really. Across the harbor, Marblehead and more distant Nahant were setting off their tiny little displays and the BOOM, Salem blew them out of the water! I’m just exhausted in the best way possible (despite the nap) so the photographs will have to tell the story, although they can’t capture the full-blown experience of the fireworks, of course.

July 4 13

July 4 First

July 4 Cottages collage

July 4 Parade

July 4 2

July 4 5

July 4 3

July 4 7

July 4 Film

July 4 Lobsters

July Ledger collage

July 4 Collage

July 4th: our house festooned, the reading of the Declaration of Independence, Willows cottages ready for the parade and the Horribles Parade, The Devil’s Disciple (very clever script by George Bernard Shaw and wonderful performance by Laurence Olivier), just one day’s lobster harvest, Ledger, so-named because it is situated in the former Salem Savings Bank, the Custom House morning and night. Below: FIREWORKS.

Fireworks Best

Fireworks 4


Fireworks 2

Fireworks 3

Fireworks 5

Fireworks Last

Fireworks 1



5 responses to “A Perfect Fourth


    So true, Donna! Fireworks were spectacular. My mom, stepdad, and I had a similar day (got a hug from your husband at the Common!) – including the blissful nap! Our TV viewing was episodes of The Crown. Even my fried dough was perfect! 🙂

  • helenbreen01

    Hi Donna,

    Glad you folks had such a great day. Salem is the place to be on the 4th. Your piece brings back fond memories. In the late 70s- mid 80s my cousin and his family rented an old, creaky summer “cottage” on Bayview Avenue for the whole summer. I believe it was the only house in the Willows that had not been winterized. What fun for the kids going in and out of the windows from the front porch – soap stone sink and the whole bit.

    I recall there was a lovely family across the street who hosted a brunch after the parade. They had an elegant house “uptown,” but still summered in the Willows. We loved the parade with really clever and politically charged floats. If I recall, several had reference to the power station in those days.

    Of course, we concluded with a great cookout with everyone bringing their favorite dishes.

    Marvelous memories – thanks!

    • daseger

      I think you are remembering the Dennis family, Helen, but it could actually be several families–who had a cottage in the Willows and a proper house downtown or “uptown” as you say. So grateful for you memory about the power plant–I remember more politically-charged parades as well but this year was pretty tame!

  • helenbreen01

    Donna, indeed it was the Dennis family. We had a reunion last September when my cousin’s youngest son married. It was wonderful to see them again…

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