Independence Day weekend just wrapped up, and I can say without a doubt it was an interesting one. My friend and her son joined my family for our Fourth of July celebrations. Where my parents live, it is okay to shoot off fireworks as long as you have a permit, and my family indulges my love of setting things on fire (I may have passed that to my nephew too.) Every year we gather for a barbecue, games and legal explosions.
This year my dad decided to smoke ribs…the man makes the best ribs I have ever tasted. I actually requested them for my birthday dinner a couple of years ago (in November). They are labor intensive, but so worth it. This year they were falling off the bone, flavor filled and perfect. (He made more than enough for us all to take some home) He also smoked a mouth-watering chicken, but the ribs…the ribs are what I needed. Of course, we had all the fixings to go with them. Potato salad, baked beans, coleslaw, watermelon…all of it making a glorious barbecue. We capped things off with a homemade apple pie with vanilla ice cream. It was perfection.
Like I said, ribs take time, so while we whetted our appetites with the smell of ribs on the smoker, we played. We set up a golf-toss game (which took entirely too long to assemble because I lost the directions), jumped on the trampoline, discussed the rules of Pitch (which I still don’t really know how to play), broke out the ball gloves and baseball for some catch, and watched the dogs…being dogs.
Then my niece challenged my friend and I to a race across the yard. Why we took the track and field star up on her dare, I don’t know. The 16-year-old is quoting her fastest times, and I’m thinking…yep, this is going to be ugly. It was, just not for the reason I expected. The ugly arrived in the form of the header my friend took into the dried up grass, barely missing the dogs’ leavings a couple of inches from her face and scraping up her knees the likes of which I hadn’t seen since an infamous bike crash when I was a kid. I can still see the moment she started to fall and I realized there was absolutely nothing I could do to stop it. Fortunately, her injuries were not too bad. (I checked on her this morning, and she’s stiff and sore but okay.) We kept to golf-toss after that and provided her with a drink or two (purely for the pain killing properties, of course).
After enjoying way too much food, and packing up leftovers to take home, we started with the fire. Rolls of firecrackers filled the air with deafening noise, parachutes got caught in the trees, and spinning flying…things flew every which way. The pyros in the family got to indulge while the others looked on with fond amusement, frustration and advice on how not to burn a hole in your t-shirt (which was ignored…until I burned a hole in my t-shirt). Crackling balls, ground bloom flowers, whistling frogs and chickens laying fiery colored eggs kept us entertained until dusk.
Then it was time for pie. I must say, I did a pretty good job with my homemade apple pie, and while the ice cream wasn’t homemade, it was pretty perfect. The break for dessert gave the sky time to darken enough to enjoy the jumbo sparklers and put together our plan for the big show. I still never get tired of writing my name in lights with sparklers. That’s when my dog picked his hiding spot under my nephew’s bed (Dexter, Lord of the Great Toy Wars is not fond of fireworks).
Maneuvering the trampoline and assorted lawn chairs into position to watch both our display and the even bigger show our neighbors put on and laying out everything in order, we prepared for the good stuff. Punks (not of the teenage boy variety), flashlight and lighter in hand we began. Roman candles and pretty fountains got things going with showers of sparks lighting up the night in beautiful colors. Then we moved on to the bigger stuff. Cakes with 60 shots, artillery shells and more. Everything was going great until the artillery shell tube fell over the first time. (Yes, first time) No fires, no injuries though. The second time the tube fell over and sent my friend and I running for cover faster than anything we thought we could do in the earlier race with the 16-year-old, decided it. You get what you pay for, and as pretty as these artillery shell displays were, they weren’t as well constructed as those purchased in previous years. The final three shots got pitched, because…I wasn’t willing to chance it again. (and I’m the person who decided that a half-dozen sparklers tip down in an empty wine bottle were a good idea) The rest of the evening went off without a hitch, well except for the face full ash I got, and our last roman candle that got dropped. The beautiful fiery colored balls shot directly under our lawn chairs and we put and end to the fun in our yard. The neighbors fireworks were gorgeous. (also, minus the yelling and running to be found in our yard).
The rest of the weekend, was fun and family filled also. I also discovered a burrow of bunnies in my front yard. Hopefully, they’ll move back in after I almost hurt one of them with the weed eater. Well, except for the part where I fell in a hole in the yard and sprained my ankle. I could tell you that it was while I was mowing the lawn, and it was…I just may have been singing, dancing and playing air guitar on my way back to the mower when it happened. (What? I like Kansas!) That didn’t stop me from playing video games, watching horror movies and taking my nephew for dinner on Sunday though.
Oh! Maybe the ankle was karma for the disturbed bunny rabbits? Oh yes, an unforgettable weekend, indeed.
What did you do over the weekend?
‘Til next time,
P.S. I can’t decide if this is an endorsement for fireworks or a warning against them… maybe a little of both?