Food, fun, fireworks, FAMILY…
4th of July has come to be one of my favorite holidays. Spending time with the ones you love outside all day and ending the night cuddled up under the stars watching the explosion of lights in the sky is my idea of the perfect day. It’s a holiday that brings our family together and reminds us of what is important!
For the past few years, we have always headed away from Arizona for this holiday to escape the heat and enjoy the festivities elsewhere. We have done Vail, Colorado and Coronado, California and both of these trips have been unforgettable. But this year we didn’t quite plan far enough in advance and we were “stuck” in Arizona. For years I have heard how awesome the Fourth of July celebration in Nic’s hometown of Heber, AZ is. Now for those of you that don’t know, Heber is an extremely small town with two gas stations and one Dairy Queen and that’s about it. So when Nic suggested we head to Heber this year, I was pretty skeptical. My idea of 4th of July was huge celebrations; nothing could possibly come close in this small town!
Oh my goodness was I wrong – it was the best! That small town, family feel – where everyone had lawn chairs and blankets spread across the fields of the local high school, food booths complete with everything from cotton candy to BBQ, live music playing and time spent with loved ones – was unbeatable. Our kids got to run around playing with their cousins, which they absolutely loved and I loved to watch. The night ended with the fireworks show, which was one of the best I’ve seen, and the loud booms echoing through the canyon were unforgettable.
Every time we visit Heber, I can’t help but to imagine how Nic grew up, the challenges he faced, the accomplishments he rejoiced in and all of the things that shaped him into the person he is today. It is truly remarkable to see where he started, where he is now and how deep down inside, everything has stayed the same. Nic was one of eight kids and much of his life was spent living in a single wide trailer with his family, who had very little money. He didn’t have nice things or get the glamorous presents that some kids get for birthdays and Christmas. He didn’t get to go out to dinner at restaurants or buy the latest cool shoes everyone else had. But it was these humble beginnings that initiated a spark in him to work hard, to be different and to live a life where putting a meal on the table at night wasn’t a daily financial stress.
I picture him in various areas around Heber thinking of a business plan and dreaming up the next big idea. He used to be the town “barber” cutting everyone’s hair. I look at the football trophies that are still at the high school and how glad I am that he didn’t quite have the confidence to pursue an NFL career (because by the looks of it, he probably could have!). I see the car in his parent’s driveway that he bought for his mom and surprised her with. I am amazed at how, from a young age, he felt a desire to help people and mostly to help the people that easily get overlooked. At how he changed dentistry by helping the people that couldn’t afford it instead of the people that could, like everyone else. And at how he is changing the way we shop and putting the profit into everyone else’s hands instead of his own, like every other owner does.
But mostly I sit in awe at all that he has accomplished and how humble and good-hearted he remains. At the end of the day, he would gladly live in a small town and would be happy to give up our big house and live in a trailer. Because that’s the kind of man I married; the kind of man who would do anything to help other people experience the blessings that we have.