Ah...the family tradition, and the holiday I get VERY excited about - the Fourth of July! However, since Roger and I have to get up early to work on the 5th, we decided to have a premature celebration on the night of the 3rd. Who said we were normal, anyway?
On the way to Roger's dad's house - the site of the annual event, we saw the most amazing thing. It's been raining for WEEKS, and yesterday was no exception. However, after the rain stopped, we saw a full rainbow, spreading across the hilly region where we were headed. I was driving the car when we spotted it and couldn't stop to take a photo until we arrived at Paw's. But, I managed to capture half of it. It was the perfect start to our evening - and I just wish I had been able to take a better photo. Mother Nature's little contribution to the festivities.Now, when I say I enjoy this holiday - I mean it. I take it VERY seriously. Roger always rolls his eyes when we do the shopping for fireworks, b/c even though we do buy the traditional items, nothing will stop me from buying at least two large packages of mortars. LARGE packages. We lay the bounty on the hood of his dad's truck, and my job is the unwrapping and untwisting of the fuses.And THIS year, I didn't have much help. Why? Well, The Offspring spent a good deal of time hanging out with A BOY. A BOY. Nothing like teenage-years to make a mother's heart grow faint, but The Offspring really likes this BOY. To be honest, ANY boy would make me nervous. The Offspring is growing up - yet she is still a petite little thing. And THE BOY is two years older than her - but looks like a giant next to my precious baby! He seems to be a nice kid, and he has made an huge effort to be upfront and communicative with Roger and me. He has tried to put our minds at ease about his intentions, and he is very open with us - so far. But, let's be honest, he's still A BOY. Sigh.At least they won't be able to see much of each other. They have this strange affliction that causes their hair to flop over one eye. So they'll only see each other half as much as normal kids.
Another fine family tradition is the "Redneck Launching System." Since Roger's medical background has exposed him to all sorts of trauma, his greatest fear is that someone will lose an eye or a limb during our blasting sessions. Well, what better way to solve any construction dilemma than to use copious amounts of duct tape? Hey, we be country folks. We know how to do this stuff up right.A friend and his two young daughters came with us this year, so to pass the time until it got completely dark, the girls lit the traditional sparklers.Paw is getting up there in years, but doesn't he look proud of all our loot? We're gonna have a bang-up good time. Oh, and the toilet seat? Well, Paw is also a Yellow Dog Democrat, so he was showing us his latest invention. If you lift the lid, the "bowl" has a photo of George W. inside, and the lid portion says, "Flush." Clever Paw.These Arkansas men have set the stage and seem satisfied that the correct trajectory will be achieved. Nothing like a few heavy rocks and a cinder block to ensure stability.Better yet, the launcher must be tested while it is still daylight, lest any additional adjustments need be made to the Redneck Launching System. Wastes a couple of mortars, but when you have over 100 of them - what's a few wasted?Well, now that seems to be just right. Let's see what the launch looks like in the dark.Oh yeah - at this point, my heart is racing with excitement - we're going to be rockin' the hillside like nobody's business! First, we start off with some of the smaller, self-contained fireworks.Okay, okay - I'm about to pee my pants, waiting for the big show - so let's get it GOING! WOOOHOOOO!I've got this fireworks setting on the camera, and I had to try several times to get good photos and time the capture just right.The littlest lady had to take a break under the carport with Paw. Plus, it's tough to carry a two-year old on my hip while taking photos and keeping my eye on The Offspring and THE BOY. It IS dark, now, after all.This is when we go...Ooooooooh....and Aaaaaaaah....and RUN! RUN! RUN!FANTABULOUS!! I'm so excited - but I can't light the mortars fast enough to be able to run away and reposition for photography's sake, so I let the boys handle it, resulting in photos like this:The boys got it down to a science after the first few rounds, figuring out how to tie the fuses together and synchronize their lighters. They managed to get all four mortars to launch within seconds of each other.Makes for a great display. I'm lovin' every minute of it.And what kind of fireworks celebration would it be without a good old-fashioned Roman Candle War?Getting near the end, my photo technique got better.Oh yeah, just like I like it.Putting on this show (mostly for MY benefit) does take its toll, as evidenced by Roger's hands.
Another fantastic holiday with no limbs lost. I can't wait until next year!