My family has celebrated the Fourth of July pretty casually over the years. When I was a kid, the only thing we would typically do is go to the beach on South Padre Island and make it a weekend affair. We’d go on the weekend closest to the Fourth and spend three or four days there. The only trouble was that it seemed as though most of South Texas had the same idea, which meant the beach was pretty crowded. Despite how many people were there, we always had a lot of fun.

It was usually just the four of us — my parents, my brother, and myself — but sometimes, a few extended family members would come with us. Before we set off, we’d make sure we had plenty of burgers, hot dogs, and brisket. We’d spend all weekend having … CONTINUE READING

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