Saturday, July 9, 2011

fourth of july weekend in the flathead valley

What a joyful weekend we have had!  Now that the June rains have passed, and the sun is out regularly, we find ourselves out and about and enjoying life in the Flathead Valley more and more each day.

The Von Trapp Children
On Friday, I had tremendous thrill.  I recently found out that the Von Trapp children live in the Flathead Valley.  My Bible study group has an annual 4th of July picnic the weekend before the holiday and for our entertainment, the Von Trapp children came to sing.  Yes, those Von Trapp children, as in the great grandchildren of Captain Von Trapp from The Sound of Music.  Now, you have to understand that growing up, The Sound of Music was a huge part of my childhood.  Our family popped popcorn and watched it almost every Sunday night.  I have large portions of it memorized and I have loved it all of my life.  I never dreamed I would get a chance to meet some of the Von Trapps.  I brought Burrito with me to the picnic, so she could experience it too, and she cuddled close while we listened.  The Von Trapp children are the real deal.  They are not capitalizing on their name, but in fact sing angelically together, their voices blending flawlessly, their faces glowing with joy in song.  They are also humble and approachable.  I got to meet two of them and tell them how much The Sound of Music meant to me as a child. 

A good stretch after a good run.
We started our day on the 4th of July with Christopher taking to the road for his twenty-first 5k, this one for Grateful Nation Montana, an organization that provides scholarships for the children of fallen Montana soldiers, killed in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  He encouraged church members to be involved in running and volunteering.  It was a warm morning, with lots of sunshine and it was great to see people coming together for a good cause.  Christopher, as usual, made great time (28:33...his second fastest time by a second).  We raced home to get chairs and a mat and our friend, Audrey, and hurried back downtown to claim a spot for the parade.

With this much soy sauce at Island Noodles, how can you go wrong?
4th of July is a BIG deal in Bigfork.  I have never seen that many people in town before, and was even told by one local that they thought it was in fact the biggest crowd ever for the 4th. The parade stretched on and on, curiously lacking any high school bands (although a company of bagpipers was present). 

It was a festive atmosphere though, and the line for Island Noodles stretched long down the street.  I braved the line, which moved relatively quickly, figuring any place with giant cannisters of soy sauce was worth the wait (and I'd had my first taste of the noodles earlier that weekend at the Whitefish Art Festival).  As I watched the parade begin, I dug into those hot soba noodles, laden down with crunchy vegetables.  Oh yeah, baby.

The sea of people leave the parade.
After the parade, we braved the crowds to head home for a cookout.  Seriously, how did we cram this many people into town? 

We laid out a feast of grilled hamburgers, roasted corn with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and butter, potato salad, watermelon, red cabbage slaw, and Maple-Dijon baked beans

After supper, we packed up a dessert picnic of pecan shortbread with sugared berries and homemade whipped cream.  We drove down to the lake and sat on the shore watching private fireworks displays.

Burrito had never seen fireworks before and had never been allowed to stay up so late just for fun.  She had a ball, popping her hands in the air, "Fireworks say boom!"  The mountains cupped the bowl of the lake and I stared, in awe of their beauty.  The beach was not crowded, the water was calm, and the air was sweet.  It was a peaceful evening, full of joy and happiness.  And it wrapped up the weekend beautifully. 

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