For the past several years, I have hosted an annual Fourth of July Jubilee at my hom

I’ll give it to you straight. I think I’m stretching the definition of jubilee. Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary defines jubilee as “a special anniversary of an event, especially one celebrating 25 or 50 years of a reign or activity.”

Well, my annual cookout does celebrate a special anniversary of an event – the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

So, there.

Besides, as a writer, I couldn’t pass up the chance at using the phrase July Jubilee. Indeed, it might be literally illegal to evade alliteration.

Anyway, I have always served my guests on red, white, and blue paper plates and my cupcakes in red, white, and blue liners. In addition, I have purchased red, white, and blue platters on which the grillers have placed the burgers, dogs, and other meats. (Wait. You didn’t really think I performed grilling duties, did you?)

But this year when I stopped by the arts and crafts store, they offered a paltry selection of Fourth of July merchandise with nary a red, white, and blue plate in sight and no platters or cupcake liners. It seems the first of July is the optimal time to start selling fall supplies.

When the arts and crafts store failed me, I tried a couple dollar stores and another discount store, and also came up empty. That’s not entirely true. I did find a penny in a parking lot.

But I found no plates that suited my needs. At that point, with despair creeping in, I momentarily considered kicking my own rear end. After all, I had looked at some red, white, and blue plates in the Supercenter, but had decided against them because they were too small.

After the fourth store broke my heart, I said to myself, “Self, you could run back to the Supercenter. You have a pack of small plates from last year’s event. Your guests could double up on those as well as the ones from the Supercenter.”

Acknowledging that self had a point, I also acknowledged that I would cancel the jubilee before I would run into the Supercenter twice in the same day.

I’ll give it to you straight. I was despondent. My jubilee guests are accustomed to a sophisticated event, one at which they are asked to bring their own condiments, help clean the outdoor furniture, and drink from convenience store cups. I feared they would consider it gauche to eat from plain plates.

Apparently, they did not because my sister, Kathy, who must have received a telepathic message from me, delivered a pack of carryout food boxes to my house.

My refrigerator is full of said boxes, which are now full of leftover jubilee food.

I appreciate the boxes, which came in handy. But at least one person at the jubilee noticed that the cupcakes were served a little less festively this year.

No worries, Aubree. Next year I’ll purchase my Fourth of July supplies at Easter.

This post originally appeared in the Appalachian News-Express.