New Jersey Institute of Balance July 2017

July 2017


A Russo Family Tradition The Evolution of Our Annual Fourth of July Barbecue

The inviting aroma of hot dogs, bratwurst, and grilled-to-perfection burgers mingles in the humid summer air. The sun beats down, but not oppressively — it’s less that run-for-the-shade heat and more the kind that encourages lazing around. I’m sitting on a folding chair, watching the horde of kids scamper around the yard. A whiffle ball whizzes through the air. The time surrounding the Fourth of July is always one of my favorite parts of the year. We hold barbecue after barbecue, bringing an intricate web of friends and family together in one place. It’s a long-standing Russo tradition. It all started back when I was in high school, when my dad decided to invite all those dear to our family to one hub for the holiday. With the entire Russo clan assembled, I can tell you, we throw a mean party, with some of the best barbecue you’ll find in the state. Ever

“A firm tradition like ours lets us pull everybody together and slow down a little ...”

It’s a hectic world we live in. Whether it’s the complications of world events as they unfold or just the hustle and bustle of the everyday, there’s always something going on. A firm tradition like ours lets us pull everybody together and slow down a little — oh, and light off some extravagant fireworks. I’d be lying if I said the Fourth doesn’t turn me into a little bit of a pyromaniac. These summer holidays provide some much-needed time for us to decompress, surrounded by family, and take stock of our lives. You can shut everything else out for those precious couple of days and really enjoy each other’s company. — Dr. Michael Russo

since then, whether we were in Hoboken or the family vacation home on the Jersey Shore, we break out the grill and start cooking as Independence Day rolls around. Traditions this powerful only evolve over time, gaining the complexity of the passing years. I love to see how everything’s changed, as the family has expanded and shifted. It used to be that our personal friends would come over during the Fourth. Nowadays, many of my buddies from high school or college have their own spouses and children, not to mention my brothers’ and my newly budding families. Gatherings like this really put how much has changed into perspective and how much all of us have gained from our younger years.


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