Silent and Sparkly
We’re a little laid back as far as the 4th of July is concerned. We throw some food on the grill and that’s about it. We don’t buy fireworks or sparklers, we don’t go to a fireworks display.
When the kids were younger, we made more of an effort. Our town doesn’t do fireworks on the 4th because a week later, we have a 5 day long carnival/summerfest that culminates in a huge fireworks display (which we can see well from our backyard deck). So we would pack the kids up and go over to a town that had fireworks. Before my dad died, we’d go to my mom and dad’s house and watch the town fireworks display that I had grown up watching. After my dad died and my mom got her townhouse just 5 minutes away from where we live, we started going to her house. But the kids have never been big fireworks fans. They actually get bored and start wandering around after a while. When they were really little, it was difficult to keep them from running off in the middle of this huge crowd of people. Then we had to deal with mosquitoes and fighting massive traffic jams to drive home. After a while we just kind of looked at each other and said, “Why are we doing this?!” If the kids loved it then yeah, we’d put up with it because it’s only once a year. But really, they could care less. So we stopped worrying about getting ourselves over to a fireworks display and just hung out.
Still, though, I do love fireworks. I prefer to watch them from the comfort of my backyard, up on the deck where the bugs aren’t as bad as they are if you’re sitting on a blanket in the grass. slap! The display our town puts on to start Summerfest is a nice one, on a Wednesday evening. But the one that marks the end of the fest, on Sunday night, is a sight to behold. Every year there are new, really unique fireworks that are truly amazing, and it lasts for nearly 30 minutes. The fireworks are actually set off about a mile from our house, but we see pretty well from our deck. (Over the years some of the trees have grown tall enough to block our view of the ones that get set off closer to the ground, but most of them are so high in the sky that nothing blocks them.)
I always wondered what it would be like to be in a small plane, flying around on the 4th of July. We usually see a few planes flying by in the midst of the fireworks display and every time I see them, I imagine people inside, looking out the windows at fireworks below them.
With my hearing aids, I could hear the “pop” as the fireworks shot into the sky, before they actually exploded. I’d hear it and then look up, anticipating the gorgeous colors and surprising displays. Of course I heard the deep boom and felt the ground shake on the really loud ones. (And heard the car alarms that always got set off in the aftermath.)
Tonight, we were watching “28 Days Later” when I noticed my cat, Sugar, suddenly flatten himself to the couch and look around wildly. Our dog, Toby, jumped up. I looked out the window and saw a burst of color. It was fireworks going off in the next town (most likely the display that my mom’s town was having). We turned off the TV and the lights, and watched that display as well as a smaller one that looked to be from a few streets over. Everything was silent as I watched the sky, waiting with no warning for the bright displays of color. The silence didn’t take away from their beauty, but it still changed the whole experience for me. That little chill I used to feel when I heard the deep booms and whistling sounds of the fireworks going up into the air was gone. There was no anticipation, no holding my breath and wondering what I might see.
When I was a kid, I used to be afraid of the loud noises fireworks used to make. For a few years, I refused to go to the fireworks displays – I would stay at my aunt’s house with her (totally terrified) dog, while my parents and relatives walked over to watch fireworks. Who would’ve ever guessed there would be a time when not only did they not scare me, but I wouldn’t even be able to hear fireworks?! 😯