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Friday, July 2, 2010

Bored On The 4th Of July, part one







July 4th has always been special to me. Not because I'm so patriotic, but because of the memories. When I was a little girl, I had my own personal fireworks show, with my brothers spending their hard earned money from summer jobs, on what I thought were the ultimate in pyrotechnics. Kids would come from all over the neighborhood to watch as they popped firecrackers and shot off missiles, bottle rockets, spinners and, my favorite, roman candles. My brother, Greg had the roman candles. It was sort of his thing, and he saved it for the finale. The show was fun for everyone watching, but these were my brothers. I remember the first time I was allowed to hold a lit sparkler and make circles in the night sky. It's no wonder I suffer from "Princess" syndrome to this day.





One 4th, I went to the lake with my friend, Ivy. Some of my brothers had left home by then and it wasn't quite the same. Still, I knew I would miss being with my family. I never expected it, but there was a huge fireworks show at the lake. I had never seen anything so beautiful. The explosions made the shape of an American flag in the sky. Years later, I wondered if I had imagined it.





We took our kids to Padre Island for vacation in July of 1989. After learning a few important things about the use of sunscreen, we headed north for Texas Rangers Baseball. It was the 4th of July and we were promised a spectacular fireworks show. We drug our blistering scarlet bodies into the stadium just as a down pour began. We went with 30,000 other folks under the stands, this was the old stadium, and tried to get out of the rain. The water rose higher as we tried to hold three kids off the floor where they were being stepped on. After having enough beer spilled on us and plenty of smoke blown in our faces we made a mad dash for the motel.. There were broken tree limbs and downed power lines every where. There had been a tornado pass through while we were taking shelter under the baseball stadium. Last year, while watching the Rangers play on T V, we heard the announcer say only once had the Rangers experienced a rain out on July 4th and that was in 1989. We call that Armstrong Luck.



We were in St. Louis for Fair St. Louis in 1997. It took place under the arch by the Mississippi River. We saw Cheryl Crow, Tony Bennett and the most fabulous fireworks show ever. And you know what? There was that American flag. Maybe I hadn't dreamed it. It was a great time for the kids and us. I remember a man carrying two beers, stopping to look over the sea of bodies. Just at that moment it got really quiet and the sea of people looked at him. He nervously said "Barb, where are ya honey? Ive got your beer." Everyone laughed and then, across the miles of bodies we saw a woman jump up and say "over here". We all applauded. It was great, until all one million of us needed to catch the same bus back to civilization. But I won't go into that.



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A wife, mother, and spoiler of small dogs, I grew up in a small West Texas town, with my eyes full of sand, and my heart full of joy.


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