How do you celebrate the Fourth of July?
From the sparklers we kids held in our little hands after dark to the crackle-pop-whoosh of the big finale, fireworks are sure to give me the ooohs and ahhh-sies, especially when they're reflected in a big body of water. Here in the land of 10,000 lakes there are opportunities galore, and I particularly feel compelled to make sure the kids get an eyeful on the 4th. Fireworks stay with us long after the last best burst of color. They add their signature punch to our memories.
The best for me is the Boston Pops, 1812 Overture, the Charles River. Ah, the glory. I'll be watching on TV again this year, but I was there once, back when I was a young teen growing up in Western Massachusetts. Or how about the reflecting pool in front of the Lincoln Memorial? That's one I've only seen on TV, but someday I'll do DC on the 4th. I'll visit my parents at Arlington during the day, and I'll be stirred to the brim. I'll remember the time Daddy bought the super duper mother of all fireworks display kits and put on a display just for our little family outside the town limits of Mountain Home, Idaho. No water, but, man, we had stars.
Speaking of fireworks in the western sky, one of my favorites was the fireworks display after the Mobridge, SD 4th of July Rodeo the summer I met Clyde. No water, but, man, we had heat lightning. Oh, wait, there was water. There was that midnight gully-washer that kept us parked in the driveway for a few extra minutes on the return home. With a downpour outside, you send up a shower of sparks on the inside, and those car windows sure can fog up fast.
Yes, fireworks thrill me. They scare me, too. The Mobridge rodeo memory comes with a recollection of local headlines earlier that day that have also stayed with me. A fireworks stand outside the Mobridge city limits blew up when a discarded cigarette ignited the tent. Two children had been left to tend the stand. Both were killed.
A few years ago we took our pontoon out on Lake Minnetonka for a 4th of July picnic on the water, and our aging Australian shepherd went along. He loved boat rides. What we didn't anticipate was the terror of the fireworks. Our brave, stalwart guard dog started shaking violently soon after they started. We couldn't get out of there fast enough. What was I thinking?
I love an outdoor event, a great chili dog, a slice of watermelon, a red-white-and-blue dessert, a sunny day followed by grand display for fireworks filling the night sky. But I'm happy to leave all the lighting up to the professionals. And I'll take the kids, but leave the critters at home.
How do you celebrate summer's big day? What's your favorite memory, outing, picnic food?