Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Long May She Wave...

Happy 4th, everyone! Independence Day finds me feeling nostalgic. When I was a kid, most summers found us in a small town in North Dakota visiting our grandparents. We had all the trappings of a small town celebration. There would be a parade featuring all the local veterans, civic and fraternal organizations and the high school band (the one and only high school!). Our family would have a great meal, then settle down to set off the box of fireworks that my grandfather would always buy at a fireworks stand out on the highway. The problem was, my little sister was very timid and you could hardly convince her to hold a sparkler. Remember sparklers? I used to love those twinkly molten hot pieces of wire. Then my sister would go inside and sit on the couch while my grandfather and I would work our way through roman candles, whistlers, etc. I always enjoyed myself immensely. Later, we would all drive over to the fairgrounds to watch the "professional" fireworks set off by the city.

Fast forward to today, a slightly different celebration. My grandfather has been gone for 20+ years, my grandmother for about 8. We don't make it back to that small town, which is now even smaller, very often. My sister and I are grown-ups and she has made it off the couch. Due to the fact that we live in Los Angeles where fireworks are mostly off-limits, we are relegated to the big public displays. My daughter, Hm has only had the personal fireworks experience once, about 6 years ago when we traveled back to that little town to help close up the big house after my grandmother died. H and I went to that same fireworks stand and got a box of fireworks. This time I was the one in charge. H and I set off snakes, fountains, candles and firecrackers, and yes, sparklers. It was fun to watch how much H enjoyed herself. I'm glad we had that chance to share one of my favorite childhood memories. I hope you all get to wave your sparklers today, if only in your heart.

Be safe, my friends!

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