The little ones began on Sunday morning. “Oh, boy, the Fourth of July! When are we going to see the fireworks?”
“Not until tomorrow night,” I replied.
“But today’s the Fourth. Tomorrow’s the fifth!”
“Right, but the Fourth is on the fifth this year, so that’s when you’ll see the fireworks.”
The younger ones accepted my answer, while the older ones gave me the classic “oh mother” look.
I was surprised that the three youngest were so eager to go to the park to witness the display. Last year they were terrified through the whole show, and after it was over they decided they’d like it better if “ there were more pretty and less boom.”
Bright and early Monday they began counting the hours until the fireworks. I was sure that before show time some of them would set up a howl to stay home.
Some did stay home, but not the ones I’d counted on. Daddy and Bob, one of the older boys, were our dropouts. The rest of us braved the traffic and joined our neighbors at the football field.
Catharine and Kenneth, our neighbors, had taken their lawn chairs with them. I took seven of our kids and two blankets. I had forgotten how close to the ground a blanket is and how far from the ground I am. I remembered when I had to get up for the Star Spangled Banner.
I had also forgotten how difficult it is to sit on the ground gracefully with three kids crawling over me. By the end on the show I had given up on grace and was merely trying to attain some degree of comfort.
When the show began with a bang the three youngest, the ones who had been so eagerly awaiting the moment, held their hands over their ears and said with one voice, “Let’s go home!”
“No,” I said in a tone that left no room for argument. No need to explain that I wasn’t sure I could stand up, but I was sure that I couldn’t extricate our car from its parking space.
By alternating with Catharine and Kenneth, we managed to hold Jean, Joe, and John, and their ears through the first part of the show. Sometime during the second part they got so busy looking they forgot their ears.
As we sat in the car waiting for the traffic to thin so we could go home after the show, I overheard the kids making plans for next year. I didn’t bother to tell them that my plans for next year were already made.
If the local powers that be decide on another aerial display I plan to sit on a nice comfortable chair to watch the fireworks and the traffic afterwards. And that chair is going to be in our own yard.
Editor’s Note: This column was first published in the Greenville Advocate on July 7, 1971.
Kathleen Floyd is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves The Daily Advocate readers weekly with her columns, Back Around the House and All Around the House. She can be reached at email@example.com. Viewpoints expressed in these opinion pieces are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.