If Memorial Day unofficially signals the start of summer in Texas, the Fourth of July confirms that it's here for the long haul. For many Texans, both holidays are about getting outside — hitting the beaches, going to parks, barbecuing, swimming — and on Independence Day, taking in a fireworks show and maybe setting a few off themselves.

Chris Harper will be awake in the dawn hours this Fourth of July tending his slow-smoked brisket. He’ll wrap up the goods and drive to his parents’ and sibling’s homes near Fort Worth and Arlington for socially distanced and masked up outdoor visits. It’s his way of providing “a bit of normalcy,” without putting himself or his family at risk.

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