Just sitting here, still catching the aroma of the smoke from the fireworks ...

It was a wonderful Independence Day holiday at the Estate, even though I was missing my parade sidekick.

Our daughter Jaylynn, 10, got the chance to spend the weekend at her Godmother Monette's house in DeSoto. She called us Friday night, said she was sorry she wouldn't be able to make it to the parades with me this year, but she was having a great time.

That's OK, I told her, we'll go next July 4.

Meanwhile, I had Friday off from the paper and was called upon to do the holiday barbecuing. Yes, there I was on the hottest day of the year (so far), standing over a 400-degree grill and loving every minute of it. The plan was to cook enough for three days, so as not to worry about meals for the weekend. As of this writing on Sunday morning, I have been successful. And, thanks to Vida's recent camping experience, we have been able to add grilled corn on the cob to our standard menu.

Saturday morning, I volunteered to cover the local parades, an assignment I relish each and every year. Hey, Greenville knows how to put on a parade!

Jaylynn has been walking the route of the Buena Vista/Chapman parade with me for about five years. Her favorite parts have been dressing up in red, white and blue, telling everyone "Happy Fourth!", petting all the dogs, and munching down on the refreshments at the end. I must have been asked a dozen times Saturday about Jaylynn's absence.

Anyway, I drove up and noticed what I thought was a really, really big Labrador among the folks lining up for the event. A moment later, Leahmon Bryant told me it wasn't a dog, it was livestock. Clover, the calf, was the hit of the parade.

About an hour later, I was getting ready for the Park Street parade, taking some crowd photos, when one of the spectators told me a very interesting bit of trivia about the Estate. Now, Vida and I have heard lots of stories about the Estate's early days (buried treasure, etc.), but this one just blew me away,

It turns out that the sister of Dale Evans, the wife of the great Hollywood cowboy Roy Rogers (and a star in her own right) once lived at this very address and that Rogers and Evans often visited her, putting up Trigger, "The Smartest Horse in the Movies" in our back yard!


If the tale is true, there has got to be a way of marketing some of those weeds back there on eBay ...

That afternoon, our son Jason, 2.5, our granddaughter Lauryn, 1.5, and their friend Emilee, 3, played their hearts out running between a new inflatable swimming pool and sandbox, which Vida provided and which rested on top of, for all we know, Trigger's favorite grazing spot. About the time the pool had been filled with enough sand, and the sandbox had been filled with enough water, to where we suddenly had two miniature beaches out back, it was time for the children to come inside the Estate for dinner and to get ready for fireworks.

Our son Nick, 19, took Jason, Lauryn, and Emilee's older sister Katy to the event at the SportsPark, while yours truly went to the store for strawberry shortcake supplies and watched the fireworks from the front yard of the Estate.

It was great to have local fireworks again, and the City of Greenville put on a splendid show.

When Jason got back, he wanted to tell us all about it. But, when asked, he admitted he didn't see much.

"I was too scared," Jason said.

Following the consumption of our sweet treats, we all hit the sack.

Jaylynn is due back home this afternoon, and I will be able to tell her all about the excitement she missed in Greenville; the cow, Trigger, an afternoon at the backyard sea shore, fireworks and strawberry shortcake. Nah, she may feel bad enough as it is. I'll tell her when we hit the parades next year.

Of course, July 4, 2010 will have to go a long way to be better than July 4, 2009 ...

Just a thought ...

Kellar is a Herald-Banner staff writer