Today I wear the vest. The famous family Fourth of July vest. Mom wore it every year.
It startles me when I see it in the closet, but today it looks a little cooler to me. Well, as cool as a denim vest designed with wavy vertical red stripes with an overlay of blue stars can look.
This vest has Mom all over it. She loved nothing better than the Fourth of July and the annual parade down Roosevelt Avenue, right in front of her brother Al's house.
Mom and Al were the kind of brother and sister you seldom see. They glowed in each other's company. Al died before she did. She willed herself to become strong enough to make it out of bed and to his funeral. The vest has Al all over it, too.
All the cousins and the grandchildren are in the warp and weave of the vest. Fourth of July was the time our whole family would get together, like the planets aligning . We got to see where we fit in the Universe from Mom and Dad's backyard.
The community is in the vest, as well. On the Fourth, everyone would gather at my aunt and uncle's driveway. We'd mingle with the same people every single year.
Last year that house was sold. I planned to stand there anyway. Mom, of course, couldn't go, but she did offer me the vest.
Absolutely not, I told her. Definitely too maudlin.
But today I wear the vest. I'll wear it every Fourth of July from now on.
D.G. Fulford is the author of , written with her mother Phyllis Greene. She is also the co-founder of . You can find her at .
Photo credit: Marcia Smilack