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Even if Utah has the "greatest snow on earth," the summer months are scorching, dry and intense. The weather, coupled with the stress of summer activities, has the potential for a less-than-festive familial mood. My family has found a tonic for the sun and schedules—a traditional Fourth of July water fight. This communal drenching is the cathartic balm, as well as an exuberant celebration of kinship, joy and physical expression. The event includes everyone from my youngest niece to my ailing father. Everyone participates; no one is left out. This tradition began with my Grandmother Clegg. Every Fourth, she would organize her legions of grandchildren in this ritual. Gleefully, she would supply multicolored water pistols, plastic buckets and impossibly long water hoses. Her whoops and cheers would rally us on to imagined aquatic victory!

My mother now continues this tradition—not only with her grandchildren, but her grown children as well. Mom's enthusiasm for the activity is just as vibrant and free as any child. I'd describe myself as the most reserved of my parents' children. Yet, within the safety of my family's tradition, I've been able been able to temporarily abandon my inhibitions. Within this context of mass drenching, I am free to join in a celebration of giddy laughter, physicality and deep trust. My large family trusts each other enough to create a water fight that is less about combativeness and more about unity.

Rebecca of Logan, Utah
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