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View from the Cab: Loving July

Little Kent Casson, right, with his brother Curt in the 1980's.

By: Kent Casson

July is much more than sweet corn, swimming pools and wheat harvest on the farm. It is also when we celebrate our independence.

There is nothing like a Fourth of July holiday out in the country. My mom always especially enjoyed this day full of red, white and blue. Our parents started hosting a July 4 family gathering many years ago and that tradition continues to this day.

Not only did we enjoy delicious food and fellowship, but the kids always escaped to the yard to light a few fireworks. Everyone would look over to see where that loud “bang” came from. I always enjoyed bottle rockets and smoke bombs. Who could forget the smell those smoke bombs left behind? You may recall the little snakes which started off as a small tablet when they were lit and turned into long, ugly things that left marks on the sidewalk for days.

Many childhood Independence Days were spent playing at home and preparing for our annual family gathering before heading into Chenoa for all of the festivities such as the flea market in the park and parade in the afternoon. I recall some parades which were extremely hot and others which were practically washouts. Either way, the memories still exist.

It is always fun to compare how far along the crops are around the Fourth compared to different years. These days, it seems corn is almost always “knee-high by the Fourth of July” although this wasn’t always the case. High as an elephant’s eye is more like it. Most of the corn is typically shooting tassels around the Fourth or just after.

I enjoy looking at old photo albums to see how the weather was each July. Those pictures from the late 1980s were full of brown grass and wilting crops during the drought. Other years appeared to have lush green grass and good looking corn and soybean fields. I recall my parents telling us not to set off fireworks near the dead grass, especially in those dry years.

The day has already come and gone, but I hope you and your family had a safe and happy Independence Day. We made the rounds to the area towns as usual to take in the different activities and ate plenty of food along the way. I highly recommend the cinnamon-sugar mini donuts in Towanda for a late morning snack.

Fingers crossed the heavy rains are done for now. I should be careful how I say that because it would not surprise me if we suddenly turned out dry again. This is Illinois weather we are talking about, after all. I lost track of rainfall totals after about five days of precipitation and thunderstorms.


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