How Independence Day transforms us

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

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In my childhood memories, the Fourth of July might have lasted all summer, the same way a summer day drags and stretches on long and slow, the hot sun beating on the fresh-cut lawn, its clippings stuck to my damp feet as I walked to the garden to snag a taste of a sugar snap pea or pull on the top of a carrot to see how they’re coming along.

Growing up on a ranch in North Dakota, you quickly learn that the work is never finished, especially in the summer when the fences need fixing along with everything in between them. But when it came to Independence Day, my family was always sure to take a breath, take a break and head to the water.

In the years when Dad couldn’t get away from the ranch for long, the holiday meant loading up the lawn chairs and digging around…

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