Igniting the “Snap, Crackle, Pop!” Feeling of Joy In Your Life
I have had the wonderful opportunity to see some of the largest firework celebrations in the United States. Call it being in the right place at the right time--I attended the Boston Pops 4th of July celebration and sat on the highway in the middle of Manhattan watching the Macy’s fireworks decorate the night sky. Both of these events left me awe struck, however, my favorite 4th of July celebration is the one located right on my very own street on the east side of Madison.
On the 4th, as the sun begins to dim, our neighborhood becomes alive as families drag blankets, chairs and coolers out on their front lawns. Adults, children and dogs gather together on the lawn that provides the best view of the smallest fireworks show on earth. Beverages and snacks are spread out for all to share. Cans of bug spray are handed person to person in order to avoid being “eaten alive” by the mass of summer-bred mosquitoes. Once darkness blankets the sky, the show begins. A safety zone is created in the middle of the street and the larger fireworks are ignited, lighting up the sky. We all “ooh and ahh!” as sprays of red, blue, and green sprinkle among the stars.
The finale involves a mass lighting of sparklers and a vision of swirls and laughter as kids and parents run around the lawns. Once the show has ended, a fire pit is lit and ingredients for s’mores are passed around the circle. There are so many reasons this small shared Independence Day celebration brings me so much joy. First, the sense of community it brings is amazing. I live in a diverse neighborhood filled with people from different ethnicities and cultural backgrounds. Our children play together and we look out for one another. Second, due to the variety of ethnicities, the food is amazing. Tacos, spring rolls, hamburgers, hummus, you name it--we have it! Third, the beauty of fireworks, fireflies and children’s laughter is enough to bring a smile to your face.
Finally, the joy that I feel knowing that this is really how the 4th of July is meant to be celebrated: Neighbors of all backgrounds, coming together and sharing the joy of living in a safe place where we are free to be exactly who we are without fear of persecution.
This is what this day is supposed to be about and I am proud that I live in a place that embraces these tenets. Oh, and did I mention how good the food is??
Happy (belated) 4th!
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