The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Bang! Bang! - they're celebrating


Tony Bullocks

Sisters Laura Markley of Prescott, Arizona, left, and Barbara McKenzie of Clovis exchange a high five after setting up inflatables on the front yard of McKenzie's home on Ray Hardy Drive. They were setting up for the annual family reunion and block party set for today.

Eastern New Mexico celebrates the Fourth of July today. Here's how:

Boys like the booms

Aiden Kittrell, 10, wants his July Fourth to go off with a bang.

Aiden plans on spending his Fourth of July in the traditional fashion with barbecuing steaks and bratwurst while playing in the backyard.

But for him, and his brother Brody, 8, it all comes down to the fireworks.

"I like the ones where they blow up in the air," Brody said.

While Brody goes for the big ones, Aiden prefers a show over size.

"I like the ones that start little," Aiden said.

The Kittrells will be spending the holiday with Brody's and Aiden's "Nini," their grandmother who lives right near Greene Acres Park in Clovis, the home of the Smoke on the Water fireworks show. It starts at 9 p.m.

But Aiden knows there is a deeper meaning to the holiday besides large booms and pretty colors.

"It's all about celebrating the country," he said.

Party on, William McCards

William McCard the Eighth will be one of three William McCards celebrating the Fourth of July with his cousins in Clovis.

McCard will be attending the party with his 1-year-old son, William the Ninth, and his father, William the Seventh, as they celebrate both the Fourth of July and their reunion with their family.

McCard traveled more than 1,000 miles to be with family he has not seen in 15 years.

"It had been 11 (years) between the times I saw them last and this time it is 15 years," McCard said. "Everyone looks different and has different jobs. A lot has changed."

McCard, his wife, his step daughter and their toddler traveled from Georgia to spend the holiday with his cousins before going to Washington state to see his wife's family. Their trip will take them over 6,000 miles by the end.

Family matters to ZTA

Joslyn Rodriguez said she has learned that any holiday is special if you are spending it with family, especially the Fourth of July.

Rodriguez is celebrating the Fourth with her "Portales family" while she is away from her relatives in Artesia.

She said after spending several years in North Carolina with her husband, who was in the Marines, she realized the importance of being with those closest to you on holidays.

"After returning, I realized any holiday is special if you get to spend it with people you love and care for," Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez, a Zeta Tau Alpha sorority sister at Eastern New Mexico University, is spending the holiday with her sisters, other members of Greek organizations and friends close to her and her husband.

The couple will be barbecuing, playing games outside and enjoying apple pie made by her best friend.

"She claims nothing is more American than apple pie," Rodriguez laughed.

Raising a patriot

Esme Hernandez is introducing the Fourth of July holiday to her 10-month old sister this year with fireworks, barbecuing and a parade.

Hernandez, an ENMU sophomore, is celebrating in her hometown of Lubbock, attending the "Fourth on Broadway" parade and street fair.

She said following that, her family will be living out all the Fourth traditions to show them to her little sister.

"It makes me feel blessed and wonderful because I love her very much and want her to have a fun Fourth of July," Hernandez said.

Hernandez said she wants to teach her sister that Fourth of July is a time to honor those who fought for the country's independence.

"I know she probably won't remember because she's young but that's what pictures and stories are for," she said.

First, we rest up

Sleeping in, fireworks, and plenty of delicious fruit creates a recipe for a successful Fourth of July in Allyson Nieto's mind.

When the Portales resident and Eastern New Mexico University student wakes up (she won't be setting an alarm), she plans to fill the day with loud noises and bright lights.

"I love fireworks. I'll probably pop 'em all day, and then save the big ones for at night. I'm gonna go watch the show (Portales' fireworks display). I haven't seen the one here, because I'm not from here. That'll be fun," she said.

Nieto's love of fireworks stems from a sense of adrenaline she gets every time one explodes.

"I like watching them blow up, but I get really scared whenever I light them. I'm like a little kid. I light it, then I take off running as fast as I can," she said.

Another staple of Nieto's day will be fruit. While she said she loves all fruit, one particular type will take precedence this year.

"Right now, strawberries have been really good," she said.

The ribs make the day

Sarah Victor may not love lighting fireworks, but she enjoys them vicariously through her children.

She recalled with some amusement their first reaction to the loud noises several years ago.

"When they were little, they would sit and cover their ears, but then they could still hear everything you were saying, but they were scared of the noise. I thought that was pretty hilarious," she said. "I enjoy watching them (fireworks). I don't necessarily like lighting them. I would probably hurt myself. Sparklers terrify me," she said.

All that stimulation becomes worth it by the end of the day, however, when it is time to indulge in the ribs, made from a family recipe.

"My dad taught my husband how to make them, and they're my favorite," she said.

- Compiled by Staff Writers Anna George and Eamon Scarbrough


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