KaBOOM. The neighbors have the best fireworks. Right now it’s a late in the evening, and the sound of the mortars is slapping against the side of houses a block away. I’ve cleaned up all our fireworks, except for one device – Hometown Hero, a great disappointment – that smokes like ruined Vesuvious. The highlight of the evening was indeed the Rata-tat-tat, as promised by the lovely lass at the fireworks shack; that thing just didn’t stop, and it had a varied repertoire that kept everyone’s attention. It whistled, shrieked, threw flames, sparks, cracklers, blew up, birthed the undergod Melothius from its hot sulfurous womb, conjugated pi, then exploded in a shower of rose petals. A Black Cat product, naturally. I was a bit chagrined to note the price tag on some items, because you really hate to see “$9” on something you’re literally about to see go up in smoke.

A perfect day. Perfect. It began with the bike parade up the street, a hundred kids on bunting-draped bikes following a fire truck.


A kid played Patriotic Tunes on his sax to inspire the parade:



As long as there are young boys capable of honking out Oh Say Can You See on a sax, America’s okay. We went past the great Moderne water tower .  . .



. . . .to the park, where a model of the tower in Lego form was on display.



At the park: games, food, a band, sno-cones, heat, dogs, sun-flattened adults, lots of kids running around with the indiscernible purpose and endless energy of bees. As I said at buzz.mn, this inflatable climbing attraction looks like something you’d find in pre-Columbian America if the Mayans had been circus clowns:



My wife was part of the Doing Things Committee, so she ran around and did things while I tended to Gnat. She played the games and got the usual geegaws and trinkets, including a temporary tattoo that said GOD BLESS AMERICA. (It didn’t stay on. I draw now inferences from the fact.) After a few hours we dragged ourselves home, pounded flat by the heat, and cleaned the house to prepare for the Crazy Ukes and the Giant Swedes and Wes the Filmmaker and the half-dozen kids. No grilled meat this time – my wife decided to make shredded pork BBQ from scratch, and by scratch I mean go-back-in-time-and-raise-piglets scratch, almost. Rain came at dinnertime, but everyone sat outside in the gazebo and drank in the cool fresh air. The rain passed in time to light stuff off, and the kids tore themselves away from playing in the Oak Island Water Feature to ooh and ahh and applaud my fireworks. The Fourth always takes place at Jasperwood, and I’m always in charge of the pyrotechnics. Wouldn’t have it any other way.

As for the water feature – we made the mistake, in retrospect, of giving the kids bottles of bubble fluid without specific requests NOT to pour it in the fountain. They did. A substantial amount of fluid made its way into a pipe that holds the electrical cords, which meant that foam started pouring out a buried conduit a few feet away. Gnat was thrilled, having decided that the foam was actually a new kind of Pokemon, and she’d discovered it, and it was up to her to train it. To train the foam.

An hour after everyone had left it was dark, and I brought out the stuff I’d saved. It’s our ritual, whether she knows it or not: Daddy and Daughter at the end of the Fourth, lighting off the good stuff. The last one dies, the fire goes out: the day’s done. Another Fourth, done right.

And that’s it for me today – I know it says there’s a Motel update coming, but it’ll have to wait until tomorrow. See you then! And remember: buzz.mn blogging, all day. See you there.





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