the fourth

fireworks

i am planning on *finally* going to mandan for the fourth of july. my parents and various siblings have been going to mandan, north dakota, where my aunt and uncle live for the fourth of july for years, and i have never had or taken the opportunity to join them. apparently it’s the best fireworks display a person can see on top of a whole lot of other fun. I have the days on the vacation calendar at work, i’ve told everyone i’m going to be gone that week, and barring a disaster, i will finally be inducted into the mandan independence day club.

and a relevant prompt: tell me a memory from the fourth of july.

my early independence days in austin seemed to be full of pomp and circumstance. it seemed that every fourth was the same, even though the concrete memory i have in my mind may be the result of only one year, or a melding of different years. after waking up excited for the parade, my family walked down to the end of the driveway where our tall flagpole was and hoisted the flag up the pole. Β whilst watching old glory wave, or just lie still against the pole, we sang “america the beautiful” because it was a much better song than the actual national anthem, argued my mom. then one year, or every year, as my memory is sketchy, my aunts and uncles stopped over for coffee cake, and my mom made eggs benedict for breakfast.

then it was off to the parade, where horses and floats, bands and fire trucks marched past us, throwing candy out their windows* and from floats. it was at these parades that some animosity was fostered among the different supporters of the hormel plant in town. a strike in the mid 80s had effectively divided the town, which you can still see from time to time today.

after the parade, we stopped by our parents’ friends’ place, who had a garage with a screen over it in the summer time so they could sit in their garage and not worry about bugs. they also have THE COOLEST fisher price little people toys. they had a castle! it was awesome. alice was also a really good cook from what i can remember, and we probably had lunch there.

then it was a waiting game until fireworks. after supper we got antsy for darkness to fall, and finally it was time to pop popcorn to place in a paper bag with lots of butter and salt. we stashed bottles, and later cans, of pepsi in a small hard-top cooler and drove over to the kmart parking lot. my mom popped the tops off the bottles of pepsi on the car’s hubcap, and we sat on the hood of the car waiting for full dark. we chomped halfway through the bag before the actual fireworks started, but once they started, we forgot about the popcorn anyway.

*did you know that they can’t *throw* candy anymore? they have to walk to the kids and hand it to them. good grief.

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