Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Flop of July

Let me just say this about July as a month. It sucks. It is the worst sporting month of the year. It’s beastly hot. And, after the 4th of July, what is there really to look forward to. Living through July every year is like driving through Nebraska. Sure, Omaha and Lincoln are nice, but both appear within the first few hundred miles of the state. Then what? Kearny? North Platte? Nice, but boring. Corn fields all the way into Wyoming. (My apologies to any Nebraska enthusiasts that may read my blog). The point is, July is a rough month to have to deal with on all fronts. This is why the 4th is so important. Not only do we get to celebrate our independence as a nation, but we get to light off lots and lots of fireworks.

Last year, my daughter wasn’t old enough to appreciate the awe and wonder of a fireworks show. This year, my plan was simple…stretch the 4th into an entire weekend of fireworks and festivities.

As we were driving home from CJ’s, a local Culpeper Ice Cream establishment, we decided that we needed to stop and stock up on fireworks for our 2-year-old to enjoy. The plan was to spend $5, maybe $10 dollars on some snakes and sparklers, you know the small stuff, but that didn’t last. The first thing I noticed were the tanks, we had to have a few of those. Then my wife picked up the disco flashes…that sounded like a good time. Then the guy that managed the stand told us that several of them were buy one get one free. How can you pass that up? All told, our $5-$10 outing turned out to be $23.00. Mind you, I could’ve spent the same amount of money and gotten a good sized show for myself at one of the local grocery stores, but nooooooooooo, I had to stop at the ridiculously priced fireworks stand. This was Friday.

Saturday came and with it came the official 4th of July celebration in Culpeper. I really like the small town celebrations of holidays like the 4th. Somehow it just seems more American. We attended a brief parade earlier in the day, and then headed to Yowell Park for the big town fireworks show. I had really been talking this up to my daughter all day and all week. She was pumped. Then the first firework went off and that’s when the water works started for her. I think the loud popping and the size of the fireworks in the sky combined with the apparent proximity to her was just a little too much for her two-year-old brain to process. The show delivered in a big way. It was in all honesty one of the best firework shows I have ever been to…and that includes downtown DC.

The next day, my daughter had gotten over whatever fear she had of fireworks and was once again ready to venture outside with dad and see some fireworks. We started off simple, with those snakes that you light and grow into ash…not very impressive. Next we fire up a few wooden sparklers. Wait what? Wooden sparklers…? Who knew they even made those. Not surprisingly, as the sparklers burned down, the ash would fall and it just so happened to fall on my brother’s foot. Great, 3 minutes into my show and we’re already down a man! We moved on to the Tanks, I thought to myself, “surely these would do the trick.” My recollection of the tanks from my childhood were that they moved…as though to say, “Look out neighbors, we’re coming for you.” The tanks I bought didn’t do bupkis and didn’t even move an inch. Prompting my mother to shout “Dud” before the tank even finished shooting out the few fireworks it had in it…though I wasn’t sure if she was talking about the tank or me as a showman.

Up next we had the disco flashes, which pretty much temporarily blinded me and the audience, which was both good and bad. Good because the rest of the show was not spectacular, bad because I could barely see what I was doing. But I pressed on and set up three “flowers.” I was going to light them in sequence and really wow the crowd. Just as the wick was lit on the first one and I was about to light the second one, my wife says, “You know those spin right?” Just then, the firework hit the ground and started spinning right towards me. I jumped 10 feet off the ground if I jumped an inch.

Several unimpressive fireworks later, my grandmother yells from the crowd, “Did you keep your receipt?” Ever been heckled by an 85-year-old woman?

Finally, I got a firework that had some pop…unfortunately, it had a little too much pop and the sparks shot dangerously close to the crowd and thus my two-year-old daughter and with that, her fireworks enthusiasm was once again gone.

And so ended my flop of July extravaganza, next year, I’m going to this place:

1 comment:

  1. I was present for all of this and it still made me laugh outloud. I think that the only solace was that the neighbors' fireworks were even worse and they had family from Idaho and Indiana all sitting in the front yard for their big show. The father kept saying, "I told her to buy a nice package from Walmart!"