Plymouth fireworks are held within a day or so of the Fourth of July, and about 10,000 people attend. To get a decent viewing spot, it’s advantageous to arrive hours before they begin. Since we’re on Siljander time, we had to park about a mile away, and I had to carry our bag, with full water bottles.
As we settled in on a hill, after deliberating which spot was best, we checked our phones, read on Kindle, and texted and Snapchatted family.
Imani texted me: “I’m jealous of that girl eating cake.”
I texted her back: “Her cake fell in the grass.”
She showed me how much shorter her right leg is than her left. I pointed out her different scars and said, “Dun, dun, dun, you could make a cool tattoo with them.” Laughing, she said, “I could have a tree on this leg and birds on the other,” pointing to smaller scars on her left leg.
As we listened to the Minnesota Orchestra, we waited for fireworks and the uncertain arrival of family. My sister texted me that she was just getting out of the shower, and I responded, “I think you’re going to miss this one, punk.” Nonetheless, I told everyone where we were sitting.
Imani: “We need a bat signal that we can shine up that says ‘Siljander.'”
We were surrounded by masses of people: some having picnics and drinking wine, a few with dogs, lots of kids and strollers, and people clearly more organized than us with amenities they had brought with them.
When fireworks started, a lot of us stretched out on the grass to watch. Young guys hollered – and made their presence known. As patriotic music played, the crowd cooed and cheered. The finale was worth everything with spectacularly bright pops of fireworks that were like paparazzi flash bulbs at the Oscars.
I thought about how I missed moments like these with my daughter because I was at work in the past. But now we got to enjoy fireworks together and chill together.
I thought about veterans and people who have been around gun violence.
As we walked the long way back to our car, we saw people we had seen on the way there: a thin man with wild white hair and an Indian family with a mother, father, and two adolescent boys. I shone the flashlight on my phone so she could see where she was going. We both listened in as a group of boys told riddles:
What do you call a man with no arms and legs on your wall? Art.
What do you call a man with not arms and legs in the pool? Bob.
There are 28 cows and 28 (20 ate) chicken. How many are left? 28.
How do you get down off an elephant? You can’t; you get down off a duck.
On the way home, Imani sang the song “Amore” to me. Then she unplugged my phone from the car charger and plugged hers in. Dean Martin sang “Amore” to us and she said, “Sing it, Dean-O!” After singing along, and playing Andy Williams and Frank Sinatra, she remarked, “Imagine if these men had never gone to the studio. The world would be less bright – ahhhhh!!” Somehow, the conversation turned to pancakes. Imani said, “I need pancakes in my life.” I told her that we have a mix, but it’s easy to make pancakes from scratch, and they’re better. Maybe we will remember that we want pancakes this weekend when we have time to get the ingredients and make them.