Friday, July 04, 2008

Another Glorious Fourth

Around here, the Fourth of July is a big deal. We live in one of the few cities in the state that allows "safe and sane" fireworks. On 1 July, fireworks stands open to sell expensive ways to blow up money and make a big bang or flash at the same time. I admit that I do enjoy a good fireworks display and I understand that many nonprofit groups make a significant portion of their annual fundraising through fireworks sales. I just don't like burning money. Young Man dreams of setting off fireworks, but when the time to shell out money comes around, he shows that he has learned well from his parents. We agreed to spent $10 and he had to pay for anything beyond that. He poured over the ad from the closest stand. He thought hard about the big assortments. Then he spent $3 of his own money to get the small bag of things that he really wanted: ground bloom flowers, snakes, strobes, smoke bombs, and sparklers.

The bigger part of the event is our annual block party. Yesterday, I baked a cake for the event. This morning, I juiced enough lemons to make nine gallons of lemonade. At noon, the neighbors blocked off the street and we set up our easy-up canopies and our folding tables. There was more food than any street of people could eat, wonderful neighbors that we don't see often enough, and another year of fabulous memories. One of the highlights is the annual grilling competition. It isn't an official contest, but the families definitely do not share their secrets. The carne asada is to die for! Mr. Engineer and I over ate and are very happy. Young Man probably didn't eat enough, but he found a day-long pickup game of soccer. Before the food was even set out we had little girls asking if we were the ones who gave away sno-cones. After the first round of food, we brought out our shaved ice and syrups and had an immediate following. Mr. Engineer felt very much like the Pied Piper as children followed him to get their treats. Everyone was happy!

As the sun went down, we put away the canopies and tables and pulled out an old, beat-up ladder. The ladder was used as a platform for the fireworks. Safe and sane fireworks don't shoot up in the air, they just spray sparks. The effect is enhanced by putting them up a few feet off the ground. We have one neighbor who loves to light off fireworks and he is willing to do his display for us. We clean up afterwards for him and we all enjoy the show together.

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