One of my most treasured Fourth of July memories is the July before I moved to Canada. That was a great summer for my sister Nicole and me. We ran a 5k together, cleaned out closets of my house (fun, I know...), shopped, sunbathed and shared. Like sisters do.

That particular summer our family was busy and split between locations for celebrations. Somehow, Nicole and I ended up at a vacant gas station parking lot sitting on the hood of her car. Or was it mine? Memories tend to shift over time...

Anyways, we watched the fireworks explode, but we did it in Corey Hart circa 1984 style. With our sunglasses on. I don't know. I guess the sky, the moment, our futures looked so bright.

I took a few pictures to capture the ridiculousness of us and our oversized shades from that night, but between a move and a laptop crash, the digitally captured memory is lost. Thankfully, I'm able to still retreive the personally captured one.

While the details surrounding our Independence Day adventure are a little out of focus, the feeling I get when I recall the love and adoration I had for my sister and the thankfulness for freedom in my country, remains perfectly intact. Neither time nor a PC failure can take that away.

I don't know if I'll have the opportunity to see our magical modern day metaphors for "red bombs bursting in air" from my view on this side of the border, but my heart is at home today. In between the chomps of fresh watermelon, the gulps of homemade sweet tea, and the devouring of mom's delicious American flag cake that is sure to be had, my heart and my belly is home.

On this 4th, I'll be at my husband's all-star baseball game. You can bet a Canadian and American dollar I'll be sporting red, white, and blue today though. You can also be certain that when opening ceremonies begin and hands go to hearts for the Canadian national anthem, I'll be singing to the tune of a different melody in my head, smiling all the while.

I leave you with some beautiful patriotic prose that could soften the heart of any red-blooded Canuck.

"My country, 'tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee I sing;
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the pilgrims' pride,
From every mountainside
Let freedom ring!
My native country, thee,
Land of the noble free,
Thy name I love;
I love thy rocks and rills,
Thy woods and templed hills;
My heart with rapture thrills,
Like that above.
Let music swell the breeze,
And ring from all the trees
Sweet freedom's song;
Let mortal tongues awake;
Let all that breathe partake;
Let rocks their silence break,
The sound prolong.
Our father's God to Thee,
Author of liberty,
To Thee we sing.
Long may our land be bright,
With freedom's holy light,
Protect us by Thy might,
Great God our King."
"America," penned by Rev. Samuel Smith in 1832.