with Lorelle and Brent VanFossen

Our First Fourth of July

I didn’t realize until yesterday that Brent and I haven’t celebrated or been near a July 4th Independence day celebration in over five years. We didn’t even know where the celebrations were going to happen around here in Mobile, Alabama. I asked Brent if he’d heard anything at work and he said, no, nothing except something about fireworks near the downtown but no details. He had to work most of the weekend, so making plans to go anywhere were out.

All weekend there have been pops and cracks during the day as well as the evening. The campground has been fairly quiet, only a few people arriving for the night and leaving. It’s too hot and miserable here for more than just the passerby on their way to elsewhere. The regulars all hide inside their air conditioning tin boxes, as do we.

As Monday night, the Fourth, got darker, the banging, pops, and shrieks of fireworks kept getting more frequent and louder. About nine, Brent invited me out for a walk along the river and a chance to spot a firework shot or two.

We walked through the night and were suddenly a part of a small group with the same idea. We race walked ahead of them, stinky smokers, down to the river.

From the patio of the campground owner’s home on the hill over the river, their grandchild, CJ, was setting off huge fireworks kits. Now a teenager, he set the large box of fireworks on a protecting pad in the middle of the lawn, lit the fireworks and then raced back to the family and friends gathered on the deck.

Explosions and colorful lights filled the sky. These were SERIOUS fireworks, not the little pop and snap things I got to play with as a kid. These are the legally purchased from the local Indian Reservations but illegally used fireworks. Huge six pack looking boxes stuffed with multiple firewords that went up one after another and another, exploding high above the pine trees, turning night into day with reds, blues, yellows, white, and orange.

After they finished a huge round of fireworks, the neighbors living across the river set off theirs. And then another one further down, and then another back upriver. They laughed and cheered and kept score, trying to outdo the others.


We didn’t know which way to turn as the river sparkled with the colorful exploding lights. One set of fireworks went off wrong and shot across the wide river, a low flying comet, sizzling as it exploded right on the surface of the water.

After about 20 minutes, having arrived late and missed a lot of the fireworks, it started to die down. We slowly walked back through the night, leaving the beer drinking and smoking watchers to sit along the river and lean against their old battered cars, telling stories of how drunk they were and how stupid someone is.

Brent held my hand as we walked and announced, “That was fun.”

I tried to think about what was fun. Maybe it was fun. I got out of the trailer, away from the computer madness that is my life of late, with computers breaking down left and right and then left again, and out of my head for a few minutes. Well, I wouldn’t call that fun.

But feeling the hand of my husband in mine as he twirled me around in a circle, a wonderful habit of his to cheer me up, I did laugh and realized that no matter where I am, as long as he is with me, everything is fun and wonderful, even when it isn’t. It’s a magical place to be with someone you love so much.

Brent and I make our own fireworks.

And yes, it was fun.

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