the 4th

I knew there was a reason I was seeing more American flags around town. Somehow the 4th of July crept up on me this year. Summer seemed to take forever to get started, then we were on vacation, and all of a sudden it's a holiday! Only it's on Saturday this year, so Independence Day doesn't feel that special, since Stuart didn't take a day off work (I think he gets a floating holiday instead).

When I was a kid, I loved the 4th of July, specifically because of the fireworks. They're festive and exciting, you know? Mostly, we just set off the stuff that was legal for a concrete driveway in town - fountains, sparklers, firecrackers - but I enjoyed it all the same. Sometimes we would be in Kansas, though, visiting relatives (my parents both grew up in central Kansas) and hanging out on the farm where my mom grew up. Setting off fireworks in rural areas is always more fun because you can get the big stuff that is too dangerous (or illegal, or both) in the city.

I'm one of those cynical liberal types. I love my country, but I hate conventional notions of patriotism, blindly following leaders who start senseless wars and don't take care of their citizens properly. I refuse, however, to write a post on Independence Day about how the U.S. has done all these horrible things and how I'm ashamed of my country and how it's wrong to celebrate independence won by a bloody war. Why? Because every country has a bloody history, every country has done wrong, and while America is in some ways the biggest and baddest, I still live here and love it enough to make it a better place (rather than run off to Canada or Sweden).

And I like the fireworks, by gum. Hopefully we can see some tonight, but we'll have to see how the kids are doing.

ETA: I'll spare you the details of my kids' jacked up sleep patterns, but it turned out that Anya went to bed at 7, so Stuart stayed home with her (he really couldn't care less about seeing fireworks) while I walked Daniel to a neighborhood fireworks display at a golf course. He LOVED it, and we had a great time talking about the different colors and sounds, and watching the guys run around with their flashlight setting off the fuses. His bedtime was awfully late, but it was totally worth it. The 4th only comes around once a year, after all.


Animal said…
I'd love for Roz to be able to "stay up" until the fireworks tonight ('cause I'm pretty sure she'd love 'em!), but it just won't happen. Hey, she's only 2, right? (Almost.) Next year…NEXT year!

In the meantime, someone around here has gotten ahold of M-80s (the real deal, not the little pussy substitutes that are legal in this country), and *those* I could do without. ka-BOOM! Somebody gonna get careless and lose a hand wit' one a'those.
Anonymous said…
When you were young you were afraid of fireworks. In New Mexico I had to hold you tight as you sat on my lap in a Sunday School classroom in church and watched them through a window. These were the big boomers that blew up in the sky; nice big fireworks for the whole community.

It is raining around here so it is dampening the fireworks spirit, but only a little judging from the noise in the neighborhood. It is not quite late or dark enough for the real stuff.

Oops. A big one just went off. I wonder if he got it in Indiana or Tennessee?

Steph said…
We went to Donna and Richard's place and David put on a fireworks show that, in Richard's words, "you can only get on a chemical engineer's salary." I managed not to hide in the garage with my fingers in my ears, but it was touch and go for a bit there. It was almost like old times, minus the small children running around into each others' firecrackers. (That would be you all.)

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