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As a kid, I never minded that it was hotter than a firecracker on the Fourth of July.

Independence Day was the best holiday, hands down. My favorite cousins came over, and we played 2-on-2 tackle football until we were all dripping with sweat. We stopped only for watermelon as the Kansas sun blazed on our backs.

In the early evening we watched "The Wizard of Oz" one more time. In the days before VCRs, do you remember when you waited all year to watch that favorite movie reappear on network TV? Kids today don't have that same sense of anticipation. With so many choices, my kids think of "Oz" as just another movie, not a once-a-year summer treat.

By the evening, my cousins, my brother and I were well into blowing up stuff. What could be better than that? One year my mother even broke out the garden hose to douse the commercial fireworks my father bought for that extra big bang. Hey, so what if the fuse was too short, we complained to mom.

I haven't quite recaptured the Fourths of my youth, but I know we'll have a good time this year spending it with the kids' grandparents in Colorado. We also have a swing over to Nebraska planned to visit their aunt, uncle and cousins there. I hope my kids make their own special summer memories this Fourth.

I wish all of your a happy and safe Fourth, too.

If anything comes up while I'm gone, please check with Managing Editor Thomas Martinez. The newsroom will be in his capable hands.