AUTHOR: Beth TITLE: DATE: 7/04/2004 01:56:00 PM ----- BODY:

Here's a toast to all those who hear me all to well.

Remember standing on the bridge in Somerville seeing only the blooms of the highest bursting shells because you were all too far away and not caring? Remember watching the sun rise over the McGrath Highway on early July 5th, debating whether or not to get Krispy Kreme donuts? Remember having to get away from the televangelist on television early that morning? Remember watching 1776 and laughing in Michele's living room? Remember the time we went to the Esplanade and the Prudential Center sat in front of us like the Christmas tree all lit up onstage in the Nutcracker and Cyndi Lauper was the guest artist with the Pops? Remember how we sat by that pond on blankets and sang along to "True Colors"? Remember how the fireworks punched you in the chest when they exploded? Remember watching delicious high school boys get dunked in the dunk tanks on the Common and feeling dirty? Remember finding classmates with more piercings, more children, more bills to pay, more and more to them every year next to the massive phallic war monument? Remember digging your toes into the nighttime sand of Hampton Beach, watching the silhouettes of your friends haunt the breaking waves like ghosts of themselves? Remember standing in the Denny's parking lot and watching Brandon's car fly by going south on Rte 3, flying a stolen flag out the sun roof? Remember forty-five of your best friends in high school singing an off-kilter "Happy Birthday" while you stood on the picnic table leading them? Remember Grandma and Grandpa backing up a truck full of birthday presents? Remember bringing home our golden retriever after the birthday party one year? Remember swinging in the backyard hammock listening to your new Jeff Foxworthy CD? Remember all your grandparents lined up on folding chairs watching you open gifts as if it were a performance? Remember unwrapping your Samantha doll, cradling it like a baby, shouting, "It's beautiful, thank you, thank you, thank you, it's just what I wanted!!"? Remember the Slip 'N' Slide and how for one sweltering July 4th it made you the most popular kid in school? Remember? Which year was it, exactly, that July Fourth started getting another day longer every time?