Star Spangled Glory


I promise not to wax philosophical on you today.

I promise.

With fingers crossed and everything.



No seriously though, it's still early in the morning and there has been nothing to set me off yet. So you get the good side of me and hopefully a peaceful, albeit probably meaningless.... blog.

This morning is that perfect morning.

You know, the one where the sun is not shining, it's just the right sort of gloomy and it's raining. The windows are open and the suffocating air is off (Have I ever told you how much I hate air conditioning?) and Stryker is asleep. And the girls are playing Barbies quietly and Zach is off getting even MORE fireworks with his little brother and sister.

And I am a little bit alone.

With thoughts to myself. And a sweet breeze cooling the house. And a Pepsi Throwback for breakfast.

And life is good.

Until the Pepsi Throwback gives me cancer.

Until then. Life is good.

I know I told you yesterday how much I love the Fourth Of July weekend. But what I didn't tell you is the routine we go through from four days out until the Day of Explosion itself.

A few days before the Fourth, Zach and his buddies all pile in someones jeep and take a trip down to Missouri.

This has been a tradition for years.

Long before I married the man.

Long, even before I started to date the man.

Exactly who goes and who stays can vary from year to year, but the tradition is always the same.

It's almost an all night event. After the forty five minute drive, they buy the beer (An absolute necessity when one is about to play with dangerous explosives....) and then they visit the same tent where the owners know them and give them great deals.

They spend at least two hours looking over the merchandise, kicking back the brewskies and making lewd jokes (That last part isn't based on actual evidence, just an assumption based on the different variety of men traveling.). (Oh, and also. Have you ever read the names off of the bigger cakes and fountains??? They could all be interchangeable with pornos....)

Like "Size doesn't Matter" and the "The Big Sexy."

Anyways, after a while the owners start showing off what they have. So they all light off the big stuff and the little stuff just to give everything a "test run" before they decide what to buy.

When they finally buy at the end of the night, they load up their loot, bring it back to Omaha and continue with tradition.

Oh. The night isn't over yet.

After they get back to Omaha, a house is chosen where the explosives will be stored and then are unloaded onto a table in a specific order.

Everything is divided according to category. From largest to smallest. With titles all facing outward.

(I know so much about this, because until we moved to the country, it was my house where everything was store.)

Then comes the real fun.

The oogling.

Oh. That's right.

Once, the loot has been enshrined, everyone walks around the pile, admiring their purchases and envisioning the pending night of destruction.

They even sometimes lean back, with a proud hand on their chin, as if they themselves had created fire for the very first time.

It's totally one of those, "I am all that is man" kind of moments.

Don't get me wrong. I am not judging them at all. I love it. I love that it makes them so universally happy, that all of their planning and plotting for the entire year has finally paid off, that their life's work of learning how to choose just the right number and kinds of fireworks has come to fruition and that they can do what every little boy dreams of: And that is to Blow Things Up.

It is this night too that I begin my Prayer Vigil.

That is exactly where I am not joking.

I truly believe in the Power of Prayer.

Since I have started this routine weekend of open dialogue with God, the boys have stopped both the Roman Candle Wars AND The Walk of Fire.... which consists of a giant, I really, really mean GIANT, pile of Black Cats that go off for like thirty minutes and the boys stand in a line and jump over it in turn to prove their manhood.

They would come into the house with shrapnel in their legs.

Into the house because that is where all the wives and mothers were hiding. No sane person can watch that for entertainment value.

Believe me. I am so speaking from personal experience.

So. After the Hunting and Gathering night which actually took place in Louisville this year and not Missouri, we then move on to the second stage of the Fourth of July Week.

Which is for Zach to take his little family to a local tent and buy the girls something.

This has become tradition.

And we fulfilled it last night. The girls LOVE to go to the tents and pick stuff out.

And well, I don't think Zach ever gets tired of buying fireworks.

We always have a "discussion" about what the girls will like. He knows the good stuff to buy and I know what the girls will like: quiet, pretty stuff that looks like cutsie things. Like Ladybugs and Trains and maybe some Ground Flowers.

In the end though, it doesn't matter what we buy, because it's always the same outcome.

Dinner outside, whilst Zach sets up the Home Show that night. We always think we are going to have this Fun Family Night, where the audience is just us.

And I say "think."

Because then what happens is something that could be likened to how people would react during the Apocalypse.

Mass. Panic.

The first firework goes up in the air and then comes the screaming. The high pitched screaming that doesn't stop. The begging to make it stop. The hysteria and chaos of little girls clinging desperately to their mother, afraid to even lift their head in the direction of the explosion.

And that is what happened last night.

And we always think, the more we light off, the easier it will get for them.

That is a terrible theory.

And it never works.

And like all other nights of tradition before this one, we, exasperatedly, end up giving them the option of either watching the Fireworks and Liking Them, or Going to Bed. (Because usually they are up past bedtime anyways.)

They always choose bed.

They're not very good at being kids.


So. After we get them calmed down and tucked in, it is almost always Cocktail Hour and Zach lights the rest off for just me.

Although if I wasn't there, I am pretty sure he would still be lighting stuff of.

Then is the yearly discussion on who's side the Panophobia (Fear of Everything) comes from.

He says me, because I am scared of everything.

And I say him, because even if I am afraid of everything I am NEVER careful. That comes from His side of the family.

That brings us to the Today Part of the Fourth Week. Now is the portion of the show where Zach takes his little brother to go shopping for his fireworks contribution. This is a vital part in the bonding between oldest brother and youngest and the part that used to make Zach really want a son, but now that he has one, he just looks forward to when Stryker will be old enough to participate.

On that day, I think I will be adding Fasting to my Prayer Vigil and probably start six months earlier.

Or a year earlier.

Like. Maybe year long hunger strikes and what not.

Oh. My.

In fact, lets all just start praying now that Stryker was born with Zach's Common Sense and Extremely High Intellect when it comes to Explosives. And NOT my inability to think things all the way through and carelessness.

Otherwise he'll end up like his Uncle Robbie, in the ER because he lit his face on fire.

I need a Xanax.


Today is also the portion of the show where I make my Potato Salad in preparation to take it to the party tomorrow. And my newest claim to fame, the Nova Scotian Blueberry Cream Cake.

With Strawberries of course.

Just to make it patriotic.

Tomorrow of course the Big Guns come out. And it's D-Day. But what a fun day it will be!

And hopefully, hopefully, the girls will come out of their Fear Coma's and enjoy the festivities and Stryker will do something else during the day besides Eat and Zach won't blow himself up and we will finish the day without a trip to the ER and all will be well with the World whilst we celebrate our Independence.

Now that some of the other boys have girlfriends, I am a firm believer NONE of them should enter in to marriage until their girl has witnessed a Fourth of July with them.

My first with Zach was a HUGE realization that I had not known him at all until I saw him that day. Oh and let me clarify that while we were dating he would dote on me, it wasn't until after we were married that I didn't see him for entire blocks of the day with the loud sounds of explosions ringing in my ears.

He totally tricked me!


And Paul, who is terribly guilty at spending the ENTIRE day lighting and throwing Black Cats into the street and driving me bonkers, somehow entered into marriage this last weekend without his new bride ever witnessing his antics and they are skipping this year so by next year it will be way too late for an annullment.

I'm kidding.

Kind of....

But seriously, it was during the Fourth of July, before I was married and before I had children that I was given one of the best pieces of advice from a very, very wise mother.

I was sitting with all of the moms in the front yard, worrying with the rest of them while they boys ran around the back yard shooting Roman Candles at each other and in general acting like total... um, what's the word.... jack asses.

All of a sudden the back yard got noticeably quiet and I had hoped that they were finished.

The Wise Mother of Four Boys looked up suddenly, fear etched in her brow and said, "What's wrong? Something has happened."

Another girl my age laughed and said how can you tell something's wrong.

And the Mother replied, "When they're loud you don't have to worry, but when it's quiet, someone got hurt. That's when you worry."

And sure enough, around the corner walked my brother Robbie and James.

James had shot a Roman Candle at the back of Robbie's head and lit his hair on fire.


That's what I have to look forward to tomorrow.


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