I’ve always wanted an excuse to use a Katy Perry lyric in a headline and talk about the beauty of pyrotechnics without getting the raised eyebrow from the powers that be, and since today is the Fourth of July, I am happy as a lark to do both things.
By now, you’re all used to my stories. I was always taught to write what I know, and what I know is that my life is oftentimes wacky. I’ve been told (by my mother, actually) that I should walk around with those caution cones strapped to me as a warning to anyone who might think of getting too close to the beautiful chaos that is my world. Whatever. I say let them have a bit of an adventure, like being in the center of a tornado. But I digress.
Right. Fireworks. So, the very first time I went to see them we still lived in Jacksonville, Fla., which is the armpit of the world. I can say that, since I’m from there. You can say it, too; I don’t mind. We went to this little sandy point with huge trees draped in Spanish moss to watch them across the St. John’s River. I know it sounds fantastic, right? Like something out of a Flannery O’Conner novel, right? Wrong. Spanish moss is full of chiggers and sea gulls like water, which means there is always the opportunity to get pooped on. Yes, I have a story about that too. Plus, it always smelled funny by that river, like dead fish.
So I was all excited, about 5, I think, and then the fireworks started and it was a bad time. Like a real bad time. There were tears, I am sure there was screaming. I ruined everyone’s Fourth that night. It’s only cute that the preschooler screams at the fireworks for about five minutes. Anything more than that and the squalling starts to mess with the Natty Light buzz of the adults.
But after that, I loved fireworks. I mean, what kid doesn’t? I have many fond memories (and scars) from sparklers, including one that involved putting them out in the swimming pool at my Memaw’s and getting my behind tore up the next morning when they were found, sunk to the bottom of the pool, along with 30 pounds of weird ash that required chemicals, which required my stoner uncle get up before 3 p.m. to put said chemicals in the pool, Marlboro Red hanging out of the side of his mouth, mullet blowing in the sticky breeze.
And then when I got old enough to travel for fireworks? Oh man, that was some great fun! I mean, that is absolutely illegal to bring fireworks from South Carolina into Georgia, and I would never condone such things. However… If I happened to know someone who did that, and enjoyed those fireworks by a lake, then it would be fine, so long as I never paid for them, right? I like the big fireworks, but I am more of a snakes and sparklers chick myself. I am not trying to burn myself or set the woods on fire. I’ll leave that to boys – they always seem to like that.
But the best thing about the Fourth is that there is always, always a cookout. Maybe not at your house, but I guarantee someone you know is having a cookout. Get yourself to that post haste! Cookouts on the Fourth always have watermelon and, if I’m invited, banana pudding.
I know it’s supposed to rain and ruin everyone’s day today, and maybe it will. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still have snakes and sparklers on the back porch under umbrellas (which actually makes me giggle a little, it sounds so fun) and burgers. You’ve got a stove, make that situation happen. Don’t let a little rain ruin your Independence, ’cause baby, you’re a firework! See what I did there? Let’s cross our fingers that Katy Perry doesn’t get this newsletter.