July 4, 2006
Let me tell you a little about our little town's 4th. First thing in the morning, those of us who are in tip-top shape or who have an especially patriotic spirit or who are just plain social run in the 5k race. It starts on Broadway and winds up and down the hills of our town. The race goes right by my parents' house and my father takes great joy in squirting the runners as they struggle for the hill's peak, on which he lives. They are almost always grateful, but there was that one year the cocky college runner ran up in anger and knocked over the ladder from which the hose hangs almost hitting my young niece sitting nearby. Fireworks went off after the race with my brother in law and the runner, but that's another story.
After the race, the parade begins. Many people like to watch it from the cozy neighborhoods where it gets organized and begins, but we like to go right downtown, on Broadway, and be in the mix, see old friends and schoolmates. I invariably get to hug someone I haven't hugged for 20 years and I like that (much better than clowns and firetrucks.) It used to be that we'd have to squeeze in to find a space, but then we made friends with Russ. He owns a house on a prime parade corner and has a breakfast party every 4th, complete with mimosas, served by him where you stand. The boys always meet up with friends there and end up playing the rest of the day while Stan and I lounge in the yard, garden, chill.
In the evening we prepare for fireworks. Our town, for many years, set off fireworks above the lake. People gathered on the streets and banks and park and oooed and aaahed. I did it my entire childhood. Then for a time, they stopped doing it and The Fourth of July just wasn't the same here in this little town. I don't know, you might say it lost its spark. But they're back! Party on. And we do.
The G's know how to party right. They have excellent ribs every year...and a margarita machine, er um, for those who like that sort of thing. But best of all they have an incredible structure in their backyard - a climber/fort/sandbox/sitting area - and it's great for parents cuz the kids stay busy! Mrs. G also passed my son in math this year! OOO- AAAAH. The H's have a great place too. Their lumber yard sits right across from the lake so people gather in their parking lot and chat while the kids run wild in the stream and woods behind their house before the display. Sure, one year a friend of Luke's got lost and totally freaked out in the dark woods and there was a small search party and he is afraid of the dark to this day...but...usually things go a lot better than that. We also have a standing invitation at my sister's in-law's dance studio which is also on the lake and provides a great vantage point for the works. It's fun because it's airconditioned, my family is there and there are hoagies afterwards from the best hoagie shop around. Sure, last year a drunk walked by on the sidewalk and threw up on my niece, but usually things are happy there too.
The fireworks never disappoint. After a busy exciting day of hugging and races and mimosas and tempers and friends and clowns and sun and play and laughter and freedom and rememberance and appreciation and dark woods and sandboxes and ribs and throw up and margaritas and sparklers and glow-thingys and hoagies and family - the fireworks in the dark sky, with an occasional plane going by, reflecting in the lake, delighting us and those around us -never disappoint.