Conversation with My Wife (204)

Flashes and booms and memories of our first romantic fireworks show

We’re standing at our bedroom window, all the lights off, facing south toward the township park about half a mile away. Deb is nearest the window; I’m behind her, with my arms around her. Fireworks are booming, this being the 4th of July and all.

Photo by author. This was actually shot from our bedroom window a couple years ago, when Deb was away. This year I had other things on my mind than taking photos.

The local fireworks are just far enough away that the sound takes a couple seconds to catch up to the visuals. Meanwhile, the next town over to the south has started their display, the town to the southeast has joined in, and occasionally over the south ridge that parallels the northern ridge on which our house sits we can see some high-altitude bursts. So four shows going on at once, plus some occasional flash-booms that are probably private parties.

ME: Having the fourth of July fall on a Sunday really works out! Nobody had to make any decisions on the best night to celebrate.

DEB: And we couldn’t ask for better weather!

It was very clear, with no cloud cover to speak off. The night wasn’t cool, by any stretch, but it was cool enough that we had our a/c turned off and the windows open. We could directly hear not just the big booms, but also the <fsssts> and <shhhwahs> and other odd sounds from the quieter sparklers.

DEB: Is that a plane?

Blinking lights, flying along the valley between the ridges.

ME: Probably. I think it’s a small plane flying low, but still high enough to stay out of trouble. When I was traveling for EPRI¹ I got to fly over the East Coast on the fourth, and it was fun watching the fireworks below, even from twenty thousand feet. In a small plane it would be awesome.

DEB: (snuggles into me) Good memories. Not that, but our first time together on the fourth. Your place, standing together by your bedroom window, watching the fireworks over Carlisle.

ME: Our most romantic moment² at the time!

DEB: Since we’d only known each other for two months! Less!

We go back to watching the fireworks, with suitable oooohs and aahhhs.

ME: Apparently the township rolled over the budget from last year. I don’t remember them ever putting on a show like this before. Oh, and the plane is back. They must be circling.

DEB: I do feel a little sorry for the dogs and veterans on nights like this. It can’t be fun, at all.

ME: I was just thinking about the dogs. I forgot about the vets; you’re a nicer person than I am, Debster. But people at least can reason things out; with dogs or cats, all we can do is hold them and cuddle them. We can’t tell them it will all be over soon, not so they understand.

The park goes wild with high exploders, ground-based fire fountains, and all sorts of colors and animations. Grand finale! After a minute, the booms and sparkles die down but we can hear something else.

DEB: Hear the cheering? They must have quite a crowd if we can hear them from here!

ME: And best of all, we don’t have to fight everybody on just two roads to get home!

We turn on the lights and drop the blinds. We’ll still hear amateur firecrackers well into the wee hours, but we’re tired enough we don’t care.

¹Electric Power Research Institute, Palo Alto, CA, where I worked in IT from 1991 to 1993. Part of my time there I was traveling 20% of the time, which was not fun (even as a bachelor), and since I was supporting folks who were on the road over half the time, I couldn’t even bitch to sympathetic ears. [Yes, yes, poor me.]

²Welllllll… okay, maybe the walk by the river at twilight on our first date. Sounds of crickets. Frogs. A Soviet-era hand-powered flashlight. Typical stuff.



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Jack Herlocker

Jack Herlocker

Husband & retiree. Developer, tech writer, & IT geek. I fill what’s empty, empty what’s full, and scratch where it itches. Occasionally do weird & goofy things.