I started collecting memories this morning while giving the garden a quick water with jax boy waiting patiently for his walk… I found it astonishing to realize how much fireworks and the Fourth of July have played a part in my growing up.

 

Most recently, Telluride, Colorado was always spectacular. One year with the drought they banned fireworks, let me tell you, the following year there were two years worth of fireworks, the show went on for at least 30 minutes, with the colors bouncing off the mountain walls of that pretty little town. Sometimes Jax and I would take the gondola and watch from above in Mountain Village (he slept through it all!). There was the year we went to the top of the roof of the Gargoyle building and set up the tripod to catch amazing photos. The parade happened earlier in the day, populated with lots and lots of kids on trikes and bikes, Rowdy and others on horses, some cool old cars with the requisite governing bodies. I would sit straddled in the window of my apartment and soak it all up. One year I was even in the parade, performing the lindy hop with friends! Participating in all of the Elks patriotic activities and supporting all who served our country made the holiday meaningful.

 

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in Loveland, Colorado, the local golf course overlooked Lake Loveland, and they’d open up the fairways and greens for the town. Everyone would troop there, kids and dogs in tow, to lay on the smooth green grass and enjoy the evening display and community gathering.

 

There were a couple years in Claremont, California. They have this parade annually with groups like the lawnmower brigade… there were the old school push lawn mowers, and power models, and they had full on routines, I would laugh so hard! It reminded me of watching the Kiwanis practice for their parades on those little motorcycles. The parade ended at the park and band shell with music and fun and games like gunny sack racing and egg tosses all day long.

 

in Arcata, California I have a dear friend who is a full time music professional and part time pyrotechnics specialist. I was treated to background knowledge about gunpowder and timing and stories about mishaps that stretched imagination.

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San Francisco was over the top! We would go to Chrissy Field and if you positioned yourself just right, you could watch two fireworks displays simultaneously. They would perform the exact same show with the exact same fireworks, all set to music, and you could watch and listen to the twin celebrations from Fisherman’s Wharf and off Chrissy Field. We would take the bus hours before, have a picnic at the park and enjoy the people watching.

 

I was blessed to grow up in Orange, California. Because we overlooked Disneyland, I had fireworks every single night at 9:30pm. The booms of exploding fireworks and their light displays were a part of growing up, and a special daddy date night would see us at The Disneyland Hotel bar up on the fourth floor, me with a shirley temple, soaking up the specialness.  :)

 

as teens, my sister and I were both in the Orange sister city program with Querétaro, Mexico and each spent one year participating in all of the needed activities to fund our stays with families there, and vice versa. Our biggest annual fundraisers were the Cinco de Mayo festival in the downtown plaza — the cerveza booth staffed with the dads, lol — and then a fireworks booth where the sales were tallied up by the moms. Fireworks in Mexico are a whole ‘nother story!

 

The house I grew up in had 280-degree views and on the Fourth we could watch fireworks from Newport Beach to Disneyland to LA and clear around to the mountains. Afterwards the horizon was filled with smoke for hours. For many years mom and dad would host *the* most incredible parties. Dad would pull out the fake christmas tree (left over from the 60’s when they were the rage) and he would hang it, upside down, from the rafters of the deck, overlooking the views. Guests were encouraged to bring ornaments for the tree, mom whipped up appetizers and watermelon and my sister and I were instructed in the fine arts of cranking up home made vanilla ice cream that melted as you ate it.

 

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Even earlier than all of these were the block parties growing up in Orange. You could get a permit to block off your entire street and all the neighbors would go in collectively on the biggest boxes of fireworks. Dad would prime the propane torch (way better than matches and lighters!) and we’d have a big bucket of water and the hose on standby for dousing out errant sparks. us kids would get to dance around and write our names in the dark night sky with sparklers, and light glow worms on the curbs, while the adults supervised and enjoyed a day off from work with family, friends and festivities.

 

overall, I’ve simply been so blessed to be able to celebrate this important day of freedom in our country in so many wonderful ways over my lifetime. I am honored and proud to call this great country my home. as well, I’ve been fortunate to have traveled to many countries around the world, and partake in many different celebrations of birth, life and death. it’s ALL good!

 

thanks for coming along on my ride down memory lane… I hope we all go out today and do something extraordinary. Do something that stirs your heart and expands your horizons. Watch for sparks of inspiration and the fireworks that can result. See the positive. Be what can happen. Go Fourth, count your lucky stars and blessings, and have a beautiful day celebrating life and the relationships that make it sweet!

 

as well, thank you to ALL who have served. you have my appreciation and gratitude!

 

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