Friday, July 02, 2010

Kathleen Cheers the Red, White and Blue

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?


Leanne said...

Oooh, Kathleen, I LOVE fireworks! GREAT POST! When it comes to fireworks, I'm an 8 year old... or maybe a 5 year old. My family waved sparklers on July 4th and New Years Eve, but fireworks were always a big treat. I have been known to buy the ones that look professional and get my husand to help me light them and RUN! These are the biggies. I like the ones with multiple charges.

We've often driven to watch fireworks, but a couple of times it took the people in charge a VERY long time to get off the dime. One of my favorite times watching fireworks was when I was at the Redneck Riviera with my mom. A father of the groom was putting off a huge display for his son's wedding... right outside our window... right over the ocean. It was like our personal show. There was one time I missed a great fireworks show. I was a finalist for the RITA in Chicago. That was the year someone spilled water on the computer keyboard and the ceremony went on forever... and I missed fireworks in Chicago sitting on a hard chair in my dress with pearls digging into my butt... not winning the RITA... not that I'm complaining. After that, though, I made a firm resolution: when in doubt, choose the fireworks.:)

Kathleen Eagle said...

Leanne, I remember that conference and the fireworks! It was within driving distance for once, so several of us took husbands and kids. They went to the pier for fireworks while we did the awards deal. Remember how hot it was in Chicago that week? We sizzled that year. Not to mention roasted and baked.

Anonymous said...

Ah, fireworks. I remember standing on the roof of my apartment building and watching the different firework displays nearby. A cool summer night with all that color in the sky.

One of my friends grew up in Anaheim, CA and watched the fireworks over Disneyland every night from his front yard while growing up. Lucky.

My dog, too, was afraid of fireworks. We had to make sure that he was at home and not alone during July 4th, New Year's Eve, and any other time during which people were inclined to fire anything off.

krisgils33 said...

Although we live in alexandria, VA, we will be going to a hotel in DC today (about 7 miles from my house!!) to enjoy the festivities in our nation's capital. It's just so much easier and takes the stress out of not having to deal with traffic or crowds on the Metro.

Kathleen Eagle said...

Those Disney firework--I remember them in Orlando. Gorgeous. But they do it every night, and there's something special about fireworks on the 4th.

Kris, the hotel sounds like a great plan. That's what I'll do. Someday.

PJ said...

I just got home from Orlando. This summer's fireworks at Disney are spectacular!

I'll be celebrating the 4th with my neighbors today. We have a picnic at the pool later this afternoon with grilled burgers and hot dogs and everybody in the neighborhood bringing a dish. We have a community of fabulous cooks so it's sure to be yummy!

I live on a lake and that's where I go to watch fireworks. From the middle of the lake we have a panoramic view of anywhere from 5 - 10 different fireworks displays. It's magical!

Last night, some neighbors shot off fireworks after we went to bed. One minute I was on one side of the bed and the two dogs were on the other. About half a second after the first BOOM, Rachel (my Rottie/Lab mix who joined our family in December) was plastered to my back with her head hanging over my shoulder and that's right where she stayed until the last boom faded off into the distance. Needless to say, she won't be joining me for any fireworks displays tonight!

Kathleen Eagle said...

Can you imagine what fireworks must sound like in a dog's sensitive ears?

I just saw a news clip about the coyote attacks in NY, and they said a coyote's sense of smell is something like 250,000 (I'm pretty sure it was in the hundred thousands) times better than a human's. And dogs can hear those high-frequency whistles. Yeesh!

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed reading the comments.
We always have a big family reunion on the 4th of July. In fact , I am resting after cooking all morning. There will be fireworks and not just in the sky. When all of the unique characters in my family get together...well, sometimes sparks fly. But hey, they continue to show up year after year.

Terry Odell said...

I watch the Boston Pops too. Until this year, we used to just stand in the driveway and watch the theme parks' fireworks. Homemade ice cream was the family tradition.

This year, we're in the Colorado mountains, and we had our first 'natural' fireworks display. Lightning, thunder and a lot of major hail. They canceled the fireworks down in town (which is really 2 towns away) due to the storms.

KylieBrant said...

Six years ago our kids talked us into hosting an annual beanbag bash, with me providing all the food, of course. Usually we feed 80 but it poured rain all day yesterday so we were only half that. Still lots of fun!

Debra Dixon said...

Oh, I think my favorite fireworks memory is when a bottle rocket zigged and came straight for me! I barely had time to leap off the porch. LOL!