As a child, I loved the 4th of July.  We lived across the street from a park, and they always had a big carnival and parades and fireworks.  My parents would throw a party and invite everyone we knew.  Then, we moved.

No more parties.

When I was twelve, I went to my friends beach cottage for the 4th, and her cousin threw a firecracker into the bonfire I was sitting beside.  It landed on my leg, not in the embers, and exploded.  I don’t remember much, but I remember seeing the blood, and not being able to hear anything-my friend’s mother ran over to me, screaming at her cousin, but I heard none of it, just a ringing in my ears.

Ever since, I have hated fireworks, ranging from the ones people set off themselves to the big fireworks displays at local parks and such.

Anyway, now, we celebrate the 4th at Kevin’s house.  For the new reader, Kevin is like my brother.  We grew up together, as our mothers are close friends.  Going to his house makes sense to me, bemuse Kev and I have almost always spent the 4th together.  He was at my side during all those parade and parties, and now it’s 30 years later and we still make a thing of it.  He broke his foot the other day, so I was in full mom-mode about his hopping around and trying to do everything himself…typically stubborn dude.  The only time he asked for help was when it was time to cook, and he ended up hobbling around me while I made burgers anyway. 

When it got dark, the fireworks started.  Every house was setting them off, likely because there were no big displays this year.  I am grateful that I went out to Kev’s though, because apparently South Buffalo was like downtown Baghdad.  I would not have enjoyed being home during that.  Instead, we sat in Kev’s yard and watched as the neighbors put on better displays then I have seen at the parks.

We had a few ground fireworks.  Personally, I do not understand why these are legal in NY but aerials are not.  Yes, a bigger boom when you shoot them into the sky, but if you follow directions and think safe then what’s the problem?  It’s the little fountains and firecrackers that I don’t care for.  Tiny things you light and throw…no thank you.  Little ladybugs that spin and tiny tanks that shoot pellets.  Ugh, I hate them…so many dangers.

Anyway, Hubs threw a pack of crackers into the bonfire I was standing next to and I freaked out.  The one thing I asked him not to do…the ONE THING.  But that was nothing compared to the little fountain they lit that exploded in a finale at the end, which no one expected.  That one made me run away, and folks, I don’t run.

Mostly, though, it was ok.

Kev was certain that I would overcome my fear of fireworks, and I suppose I did…or if not overcame, then certainly managed to control.  Which is a nice feeling. Any time I am in control of myself is a good time.  I was concerned about going to his house because I knew these fireworks I hate would be everywhere, from the sparklers and novelties Kevin had to the big booms in the sky. Honestly, I think I would have done far worse if I stayed home though…morning after reports were dismal.  Paper and debris from fireworks littered my garden.  The smell of sulfur lingered in the air.  News reports tell me there were thousands of complaints. 

I tired not to focus on the fireworks.  I focused on Hubs, who loves the 4th of July, and mostly Kev, my broken-footed friend whom I have spent so many Independence days with.  Friends trumps fireworks, any day of the week…not just the 4th of July.


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