We had a great time at our neighbor’s annual July 4th party last night. I enjoyed chatting with an eclectic mix of neighborhood women (one is a 67-year-old grandmother who is still working at a private university here in town and one mom, 50, has been battling breast cancer) and the conversation quickly turned to our lovely hostess and how she had gone all out on the patriotic red, white, and blue theme. The tables were covered with red, white and blue quilts and tablecloths. The dessert table had quite a spread including a big bowl of red, white, and blue M&Ms and cupcakes decorated with red, white, and blue sprinkles. When I led Caitlin into their hall bathroom to change her into her bathing suit she was delighted to see the tiny red floating candles decorating the tub. Really, if there had been red, white, and blue toilet paper, patriotic hand towels, and an Uncle Sam soap dispenser I wouldn’t have been surprised. Our fabulous hostess even handed out patriotic theme party treat bags to all the kids and cued the patriotic music once everyone carried their lawn chairs and ice cold beers out to the front yard and the fireworks bonanza started. The party was fun and festive, without being stuffy or pretentious. I’m not sure I’ll ever pull myself together enough to be one of those hostesses who has floating candles in the tub. I’m just happy if the toilet is clean. I have come a long way, however, from the college apartment parties: salsa straight from the jar, chips from the bag, and beer out of a can!