$3 for 3 months. Save 90%.
$3 for 3 months. Save 90%.

Style at Home: An Independence Day to remember

Mary Carol Garrity
Special to The Detroit News
The entire week before Independence Day is a red, white and blue celebration. (Mary Carol Garrity/TNS)


Sometimes it’s not us who achieve our life dreams, it’s our descendants. In my case, it was my granddaughter Maeve, and the dream was to win the Fourth of July pageant. Growing up in a small town in Kansas in the 1960s, the holiday was a huge deal. One year, our swimming pool had an Independence Day swimsuit contest. I was about 5 years old, and set my sights on winning that pageant.

I’ve always believed a girl can do anything if she has the right accessories. At the time, I was convinced glamorous women had poodles and wore high heels. So I sweet-talked the neighbors into letting me borrow their little poodle, donned my haute couture plastic dress-up shoes and favorite swim suit, and promenaded around the pool, sure I was dazzling the judges. Inexplicably, I did not win. Imagine the vindication I felt decades later when Maeve won our little lake community’s Fourth of July dog show, with Lyric.

Honestly, I still feel like a kid when the Fourth of July rolls around. Next to Christmas, it’s my favorite holiday. The first summer Dan and I lived in our lake cottage, I knew we had landed in the right spot when I heard about how big Independence Day is here.

The entire week before Independence Day is a red, white and blue celebration, with one kitschy event after another that reminds me of the way our small town celebrated when I was growing up. There’s a bingo night and a community dance. On the Fourth of July, the mayor floats around on a boat tossing ice cream sandwiches to everyone. As soon as it’s dark, the fireworks begin.

To make the week even more sensational, I get to do it all with my original partner in crime, my big sister, Judy. She flies in for the entire week of fun, which sends me over the moon with joy. Our daughter Kelly was born on the Fourth of July, so we also have a big family to-do to celebrate her. Year by year, we add to the great memories made on this special day.


Right about now, I start to decorate the cottage for the holiday, focusing on the dining room. I do up the table, chandelier and a few other key spots in the dining room.

Next to Christmas, the Fourth of July is Mary Carol Garrity's favorite holiday. (Mary Carol Garrity/TNS)

I will have fun adding red, white and blue to my table, which will be filled with potluck goodness brought by our family and friends. I feel incredibly blessed to live in our great country. To celebrate our nation’s birthday with those I love. And, to know that in my granddaughter, we finally have a Fourth of July pageant winner in the family!

Decor helps add to Mary Carol Garrity's family memories of the holiday. (Mary Carol Garrity/TNS)



This column was adapted from Mary Carol Garrity's blog at.