This was the first Independence Day without my dad, Carl. He loved the Fourth of July. I am sure that it was for many reasons, but especially for the fireworks. He would drive for miles to see them. My mom, Sybil, tolerated them, the loud boomers bothered her. She did like to see the colored, cascading sparkles brightening the night skies. Often we would go to the Mill Run Baptist Church for their festivities. Food, ice cream, and cold drink sales, music, and even a cake walk drew people to visit. But most people came and stayed for the firework display.
The church was on one side of Route 711 and the fireworks were shot from a field on the other side. With a loud thump and a streak of fire, the rocket would escape its launch tube to lift high in the air. It would slow and arc slightly the upturned faces of the crowd, before exploding in a myriad of colors, shapes, and loudness. O-o-ohs and a-a-ahs escaped the crowd’s lips in appreciation of the bright aerial display.
Colors of red, white, blue, green, silver, gold and mixtures of the hues would blossom and expand into pyrotechnical flowers. Sometimes one explosion would expand into several, showing different colors. Men, women, and children would marvel at the repeated and varied explosions.
Occasionally Dad would go to firemen’s fairs for a burger and the fireworks. One night we were home and in the distance, we could hear the thunder of firework explosions. Dad said, “I’m going upstairs to see if can see them.” Soon we heard a thump, thump, thump. Mom herded us together saying, “We need to go. Dad wants us to see the fireworks. If we don’t go, he’ll be upset.”
When we entered the living room, Dad was in a heap at the bottom of the oak stairs. He had slipped on the wood. My sister, Kathy, had used a dusting clothe that had Pledge on it, making the treads slippery.
I had the charcoal grill out to cook several hamburgers. It reminded me of many Sundays that Dad would invite us to the home place and serve hamburgers from the grill. Usually there was a salad, potato salad, and watermelon.