Just some Fireworks…

It took almost a year, but at long last, the porch has been transformed from ceiling to floor boxes and evenings of playing the guessing game of ‘what’s behind box number three,’ and is now a place to enjoy the warm evening breeze and the last sounds of the season.

The furniture my daughter painted will always make me think of summer; the bright pink petals bursting out of the backdrop of orange are cheerful and inviting. The wicker furniture was a lesson in teamwork and well worth the sweat and near squabbles required for proper assembly. It’s a perfect place to relax and reminisce.

In the final days of summer, the booming echo of fireworks in the distance brings back memories of my recent birthday celebration.

The first surprise of that evening wasn’t the train of hugs I received when I entered the cabin, it was that my oldest son was engrossed in the newspaper and didn’t even bother to look up, let alone wish me happy birthday. I walked toward him, determined to get my birthday greeting.

He lowered the paper, grinned and said, “Happy Birthday Mom.”

I shouted, “You have a face, a clean shaven beautiful face!”

The deck erupted with laughter as I hugged him and put my hands on his cheeks to confirm that the scratchy college beard had really been replaced with the smooth look of a soon to be young professional.

I don’t know how long they had been planning it, or how they pulled it off, but I don’t think I’ve ever been more surprised.

I couldn’t stop laughing while we tried to capture the perfect picture on the beach. My advice is this: never ever look directly into the sun for a family photo, the squinty eyes and looks of pain in no way offset the lack of shadows. Unbelievably, we did end up with a picture of all ten of us that is Christmas card worthy, with little to no ‘photoshopping’ required.

Pictures were followed by a delicious meal, a flaming birthday cake, and a round of “Happy Birthday,” which was actually quite melodious.

At my niece’s insistence, party blowers were the favor of choice; thanks to my brother’s guidance, they were the silent type. I felt a bit like a blow up punching bag clown as I was assaulted with the full force of several noiseless party blowers. I’m not sure who giggled louder, the kids or me.  All I know is amid the loud gasps, audible puffs and the thwapping sound against my cheek, the party favors were far from silent.

Dusk gave way to darkness and the neighbors’ preparations for a fireworks show began in earnest. My niece and nephew flew down the sidewalk to watch the activity. They stood still as statues and peered through the fence in anticipation and apprehension. When the first loud boom erupted and the fiery sparkles drifted against the black velvet sky, Sofia reached out and pulled her brother in close.

“It’s ok Maxy, it’s just some fireworks. I think they’re for Auntie Beth’s birthday.”

Who knows, maybe they were…

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Wow! That Was ‘Eye Popping 3d’!

When I moved from Nebraska to the east coast, I knew there would be differences and similarities.  It’s been fun to venture out and experience things that are common to many, but unique within their context.

Last night our mission was dinner and fireworks.

I’ve never been much of a fireworks fan, I mostly find them loud and scary unless I’m far away and just watching the light show explode in the sky.

My kids on the other hand have always enjoyed the heat and energy that go with the very same noises that make me want to cover my ears.

They’ve missed the tradition of lighting bottle rockets, sparklers, and the assortment of explosives carefully selected for the one night  of the year that they were allowed to ‘play with fire’.

After dinner we ventured to New Hope, a town that is difficult to describe.  If you’ve ever vacationed in Northern Minnesota, you might describe it as ‘Dorset on steroids’ (that would be on mega steroids!).  I’ll have to find a way to describe it someday, but for now the focus is the fireworks show.

We found a spot on the bridge that spanned the river connecting New Hope, PA and Lambertville, NJ.  I don’t know that I’ll ever grow accustomed to the harshness of the north-eastern accents.  The language is the same, but somehow foreign at the same time.

A mediocre sound system pumped old rock and roll into the evening air.  Next to the sound system, there was a small boy perched on the base of a statue.  He was protected from the bugs and the evening chill, his small body almost swallowed by the hooded jacket he wore.

His dad handed him a sparkler.  His arm was stick straight and unwavering.  We watched as the sparkles flickered in one direction toward his hand as it burned out.  It didn’t last long, it was almost as though the sparkler wasn’t having any fun and wanted to end it quickly.  Another one found its way to the boy’s hand, and this time there was movement.  Small circles, the sparks flew a little further into the air.

I couldn’t see his face, but I could imagine how his eyes lit up as he realized that he had the power to make diamonds fly.

The fireworks began with a countdown from 10, led by a local long time resident.

The crowd of strangers consisted of small groups of family and friends became one voice as we shouted each number in descending sequence.

I had to chuckle.  After everyone shouted ONE, there was total silence.  Everyone knows 3, 2, 1 BLASTOFF!  or ready, set GO!

But what do you shout at the end of 10, 9, 8……1!!!???

The leader of the countdown jumped in after a few seconds and shouted BOOM!

Squeals of delight filled the air as children and adults reveled in the light show that was launched from the pontoon deck parked on the river beneath us.  The play by play commentary of the young boys beside me said it all.

Their observations accentuated over and over with the phrase, “wow!  It’s almost like ‘eye popping 3D’!”

I think it was ‘eye popping 3D.’