| Fireworks on the Fourth of July, 2009; Happy Birthday America!|
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
When I was a child the Fourth of July was a celebration of sparklers and bottle rockets. I'm not sure that we ever went to see a professional fireworks display--not specifically on Fourth of July at least. My father was not much on shelling out money for home fireworks. To him it was like burning money, an economic tradition that I carried on into my adult life. My mother on the other hand would always buy at least a few simple fireworks.
The Fourth was typically a stay at home time for us. No picnics, no festivals, or anything like that. Once our family juggled in a parade. It was a hot ordeal walking while juggling for however far the parade route took us. We did it because it was a paid gig and that made the experience worth it. Otherwise I remember nothing about that parade.
After I started working on the road with shows I almost always went to Fourth of July festivities. After all, we were away from home and since we never worked on the Fourth going to some event in whatever town we were in was better than staying cooped up in our motel room. And I wanted to take my kids to do fun things. We had some good times.
One of our more memorable Fourth of July activities was when I went to visit a cousin who was living on Bainbridge Island across the sound from Seattle, Washington. We went out along the shore area where many folks were congregated for holiday festivities. A friend of my cousin brought some snacks and a few bottles of locally made wine. Once the skies darkened the shoreline became like a war zone with revelers setting off their own fireworks displays.
Across the sound the Seattle skyline was silhouetted against the darkened skies with tiny soundless flashes of fireworks glimmering like fireflies. As Jupiter rockets and Roman candles zoomed perilously close to us we decided to pack up and leave. After all we had small children and the alcohol infused crowd assembled at the shore was starting to lack good judgement. We had our good time, but the hour was late and kids needed to be put safely in their beds.
This year's Fourth was a sedate affair with fireworks on television and lightening bugs quietly drifting on the balmy summer night. It was a peaceful evening that was befitting of older folks gathered like my mother, sisters, and I. There were a few verbal pyrotechnics, but mostly a settled atmosphere of family on the back patio in the Tennessee dark. Not a particularly memorable Fourth like some in my past, but a passably good one for this time of my life.
How did you spend your Fourth of July? Do you usually buy fireworks? Is there a certain holiday that is particularly memorable to you?