Celebrating the Third and Fourth of July!

Now, one has to understand before I begin my tirade that I am not against joyful occasions and celebrations. However, the fact that a home across the street from us decided to set off a multitude of fireworks (and, definitely not the type one buys legally!) from six in the evening until almost midnight kind of take the festive edge off of the Fourth of July for me . . .

Oh, wait, yesterday was not the Fourth of July yet this household celebrated it long and loud. Earlier in the day, I noticed they had a large panel truck in their driveway and two of the people were hefting out four, large totes from the truck . . . and, soon, after the explosions of ‘merriment’ started going off. I have a feeling that the contents of said totes just might have contained fireworks of a legal nature.

Every year, the fireworks get more intense and showers of colorful explosions burst forth over the roofs in our neighborhood, while the less ‘explosive’ neighbors hurriedly start wetting down their roofs, walls, and fences.

It is actually kind of sad how the picnic atmosphere and holiday barbecues are a side dish to the fireworks. We’ve walked about when the children were younger to watch the various goings on and there never seems to be much joy in the occupation. Children sit on the sidewalk, dads yell to stay back, and explosion after explosion goes off even while the next set of noisemakers are set out.

When I was around eight, we spent the day with friends on the Fourth of July. Fireworks were something we weren’t familiar with so we happily enjoyed a day of swimming and fun food not hurrying through in order to get to the fireworks. One of my favorite memories of the day was getting my deeply-hued aluminum cup filled with ice and soda that made the color of the cup seem brighter as the cold condensed on the outside. The ice clinking was an added bonus. In the evening, the grownups suddenly showed up with matches, sparklers, and some fun ensued. I remember we children being lined up on the lawn and each handed a funny wire stick and told to keep it away from our faces . . . so we did. Then one of the dads carefully lit each one and suddenly we were holding a cascading flood of delicate sparkles. One of the mothers poked some of the sparklers into a tree’s branches and we witnessed a tree in seldom-seen glory and wondered greatly at the wonders to be found in our small world. Just as the last sparkler gave out, some funny, black ‘pills’ were lined up in the porch light. Two parents carefully lit each one and they turned into a creeping, crawling caterpillar that quickly disappeared into dust. No loud explosions. No one got hurt or frightened and we ended the event with bowls of ice cream and chatter about what we had seen and done.

In any event, the neighbor’s early advancement into Fourth of July noise lasted up to midnight. Since we attend the 7:30 a.m. Mass and I get up at 4:45 a.m., finally getting enough quiet to fall asleep took the edge off the early morning awakening. We made it to Mass on time, didn’t fall asleep during the sermon and I thought ‘hopefully, the ‘worst’ of the Fourth of July was over early. Then the adamant hand shaker at the Sign of Peace turned around and was sporting an obama tee shirt. Last week, he wore a pro-life one. I guess nothing is over until it’s over!