I bet you didn’t know it, but today is a holiday. Today, in the United States of America, we commemorate the adoption of the flag of the United States.
I admittedly have a shaky history with the American flag, but I do not have shaky history with my younger brother. And for me and my younger brother, Flag Day is one of the best days of the year.
We first began celebrating Flag Day seven(-ish?) years ago. My brother and I had just come home from an afternoon at the river. The skin on our cheeks and shoulders was taut and freckled with sun. My calves and hamstrings burned from the perilous hike up the steep rock cliffs that led to our own private oasis on the sun-baked river bank. We drove home in my shaky 1988 Honda Prelude, windows down blasting DC Talk and dancing carelessly, free. (Even now I’m not ashamed of my love for DC Talk)
At home we ravaged the kitchen for ice cold sodas—Cherry Pepsi for him, Diet Pepsi for me—still in our bathing suits.
“Aly, let’s make a cake,” Cameron declared as he flashed me his dimpled smile that gets him out of chores and punishment, even when he’s as guilty as a child caught sneaking cookies before dinner.
“Okay,” I conceded, not that it took much convincing.
“We don’t have cake mix,” he looked at me with the eyes of a wounded animal, but I already knew how to save the day.
“We could go to Mike’s,” I suggested. Mike’s was the convenience store right down the hill from us. We used to ride our bikes down to purchase candy bars for ourselves and milk for our mom. It hadn’t been called Mike’s for a couple of years since an Arab couple took over the store, but it would always be Mike’s to us.
|Flag Day 2010|
“We should bake the cake for Mom. When does she get home?” Cameron asked me. I was surprised at his spontaneous selflessness and felt a little guilty that I hadn’t thought of it first.
“That way she’ll give us money for it.” No need for guilt; there’s the Cameron I knew.
“We could say it’s a birthday cake, or maybe her half-birthday!” His excitement was growing as he schemed. Meanwhile I made my way over to the calendar, checking if there was some kind of holiday that was close enough to justify baking a cake.
June 14th. It was Flag Day.
I rushed to my room to throw on some clothes, yelling to Cameron to do the same.
“We’re going to Mike’s, Cameron! It’s Flag Day! Everyone needs a Flag Day cake!”
|Flag Day 2011|
Five minutes later clad in cut off shorts and old gymnastics t-shirts, my brother and I stood in front of the cake mixes preparing to make the most difficult decision of the summer thus far: what kind of cake is appropriate for a Flag Day celebration?
Our eyes greedily studied the sumptuous labels of rich, moist, luscious cakes, and then stopped scanning at exactly the same time. I turned to Cameron and met his brilliant blue eyes as we both broke into a smile.
“Yellow cake, chocolate frosting,” we said in unison.
With those fateful words and that first delicious Flag Day cake, we’ve been celebrating Flag Day ever since. My mouth is watering just thinking about the tasty cake we will (hopefully) bake tonight. What’s more, Flag Day is an excuse to spend time with one of my favorite people on earth, my brother.
Happy Flag Day, everyone! Do you have any fun family traditions/excuses to spend time with each other?
To read more about my incredibly talented little brother, click here, or to listen to the delightful and soulful and just downright impressive beats he creates, click here. And keep an eye out for our obligatory Flag Day 2012 picture later this week.