As noted in previous Fourth of July columns, Independence Day memories included a large backyard picnic.

Three wash tubs were stocked with drinks, kept cold from ice blocks from the local ice house.

On the grill, footlong hotdogs and burgers sizzled; relatives delivered potato salad, baked beans and casseroles.

My grandfather made sure there was a chilled watermelon in the basement.

After a baseball game or a parade, the backyard provided Wiffle ball games, volleyball or touch football.

From Longview Drive in Ellwood City, Pa., we looked out over a valley of fireworks blasted skyward from the Conquenessing Country Club, the Blue Sky and Spotlight 88 Drive-In Theatres.

We’d trek to J and T Frozen Custard Stand to wrap up the day. Enjoy the Fourth.

Fastcast: Summer.