I took Mrs. Dr. Omed out to the ball game last night. The stadium sold out. We sat in the bleachers. Peanuts, no Cracker Jack. The crowd occasionally noticed there were two teams playing baseball down on the field. Most of them were there for the fireworks after, I think. And the dollar beer.
I’ve seen many fireworks shows over the years, some quite spectacular. My most vivid memory of fireworks, however, was a Fourth of July display at Meadowlake Park in Enid, Oklahoma, which I saw when I was maybe 5 years old. In addition to “bombs bursting in air” there were frame mounted pyrotechnics on boats in the lake, which, when lit, created various tableaus and designs in shooting sparks, including an American flag.
This was altogether spectacular to my five year old eyes, and I still think fireworks on and over water are best. I suspect the magic of that long ago Fourth of July is in the remembering of it, the repeated renewal of the imprinted images. I don’t know the other watchers saw.
In the bleachers last night, rather than watching the fireworks, I found myself watching the children watching the fireworks, watching their bodies react and register each burst and boom, watching them physically form the memories, screaming with the pleasure of it. Until a parent shushed them.