About 4:00 PM on July 4th, David says to me "When are we going downtown to watch fireworks?"
My first response was going to be "Next year" but I could tell he and Jono really wanted to go. The M and I were reluctant to get out in the heat, the bugs, the crowds, excuses excuses. Isn't there a burn ban in place because of the drought? Mightn't we catch fire ourselves by merely going outside in this heat? Can't we just stay home and watch So You Think You Can Dance?
Perhaps a little begrudgingly we packed the folding chairs and cooler into the van and headed to downtown Waco on the Brazos river. We parked at the Alico building and began walking to the river with our summer outing accouterments strung over our shoulders or pulled behind us on little plastic wheels. After a few blocks, we stopped and asked a policeman about the fireworks launching site, and shortly after that we spotted an open field. As we walked across acres of crunchy dead grass, long starved of water, we came to a temporary chain link fence with a sign on it that told us in no uncertain terms that we had found the ultimate firework viewing area!
[read "Welcome to fireworks viewing heaven"]
[Jono, eager to have the ultimate experience, took his chair right up to the mouth of the dragon.]
[You can see there were "plenty of available seats in the theater".]
After getting our spot staked out, we sat and talked a while and drank Coke Zeros. I would like to see a Coke One someday, just for the binary humor in it. All this drinking had its predictable effect and soon the boys and I were headed to the portable toilets over near the bridges that cross the Brazos river. There were lots of people (this is where the crowds were) and lots of food. The Fabulous Thunderbirds were playing on an outdoor stage.
[This is the famous Waco Suspension Bridge, circa 1870, as seen from the less famous Washington Street Bridge, circa 1920. This is me, spinning in circas. Or perhaps this is me running off to join the circa.]
[Folks on the bridge, waiting for the fireworks to begin]
The boys and I made it back to our seats and soon the fireworks began. We were not disappointed. They were big as the sky and feel-them-in-your-chest loud. They were so loud it made you laugh a little just from surprise. It was one of the most enjoyable fireworks shows I have ever seen. I kept thanking David for making us get off the couch and come watch it.
[We were about 150 yards from the launching site. You can see one taking off from the ground in this picture.]
[The light in this picture is from the fireworks themselves!]
As I looked over at my family, I could see them appear and disappear in the rockets' red glare. One time they would appear shrouded in green, the next time red. It was reminiscent of the way a Texas thunder storm can light up the night sky with lightning as bright as the sun, except without the fear of being killed by 100,000 volts. We all had a really super time and plan to come back to the Firework Fallout Area again next year; we have begun a new family tradition.