The Big Bang
When Cameron and I were first married we could see the Stadium of Fire display from our front lawn. When we moved south to Springville we could still see them from our front lawn, although distant they were still a spectacular shown to watch. When are boys started coming along we bought a few firecrackers to light off in the road and it literally exploded from there! It was such a hit, not just with the boys but also with the neighbors. They all brought theirs over and lit them too. It turned out to be quite the party. The next year there were so many people spontaneously joining our little front yard gathering we ended up bringing a table out and setting it up on the lawn. We loaded it with our left overs from our BBQ for everyone to snack on. Others added too. We had quite the buffet of goods and assortment of fireworks. That’s how is started. Good friends, good food, good fun all in honor of our freedom and those who pay the price for it.
I remember Edison’s first 4th of July. Every time a firework was lit he would tremble and shake. But, he loved it, he refused to go inside and wanted more. Yet it never failed, one would be lit and he would tremble uncontrollably. That’s where his love for fireworks began.
He waits all year and while he waits all year he talks about the last Fourth of July and plans for the next. This year he ‘made’ his own fireworks out of household items and then begged that we light them. Very creative, he’d take toilet paper rolls or empty juice boxes fill them with string, tissue and so forth and then wrap them with tape leaving a piece of string out for the wick. We did light one for him, which had a Lego man inside and boy did that stink up the place. Little brother Hudson was not happy a Lego man was sacrificed.
Edison made lists. A list of all the fireworks we had and a list of all the fireworks we would still need to get. He gave me a copy more like a calendar counting down the last two weeks. On each day he wrote instructions as to which fireworks I would need to buy. As he explained very seriously what was expected of me he then said, ‘Can you store that in your brain?’
Everyday we had to drive by the fireworks tent to see if they were open yet. It was a glorious day when they finally opened for business. Oh did we buy fireworks. He spread them all out, organized them, and stored them carefully for the big day.
Finally the Fourth arrived and we were busy getting ready for our gathering. Not as many neighbors joined us on our lawn this year. Still being in a new neighborhood and many had prior plans, yet quite a few were out and we all had fun together. The kids were the real entertainment. We gobbled down our food and set out the chairs lining them along the curb. Everest got a fierce game of soccer going and we mingled as long as we could hold them off. Edison was about to burst. So we broke out the sparklers and a few others we could do in the daylight hours. Trying to pace our selves as not to run out of fireworks. Finally twilight arrived. Dark enough for the real show to begin.
Edison never stopped moving with anticipation and sheer excitement as each firework was lit. The night air shimmered with explosions of firelight, smoldering wisps of smoke danced playfully across the pavement along with all of the little feet skipping and jumping with delight. It was magical and captivating.
And it ended all too soon. Clean up began, sticky melted otter pops and singed cardboard boxes plastered the pavement. I had forgotten about the neon glow bracelets I had for them and pulled them out. As we swept the streets the boys and their friends adorned themselves with fluorescent glow in the dark tubes making all kinds of wearable designs. Isaac looked like a little island boy dancing in the streets with his ankles, wrists and neck cloaked with colors against the coal night backdrop. Too tired to climb into their beds there was a string of boys curled in balls all the way up the stairs. Hudson never made it, he was at the bottom and conked out cold. The rest we wiped down with wet wipes and tucked into beds, falling asleep before their heads rested on their pillows.
No wonder we love this holiday. No doubt the greatest gift of all, freedom.
(The planning committee is already hard at work for next year’s celebration.)