Everyone parked at our place, and then we walked. There was still room on the grassy slope for our blankets to spread out, so we staked out our spot. Then J-Blu, the Beaner and I took a stroll just to look at the lake and do a little people-watching. (Spike and the Punk are both away, south of the border.) The playground was a mob scene. Further down the path, teens too cool for the rest of us sat on rocks, legs dangling, deliberately facing away from where the show would eventually be. Around the curve, one family had set up a full screened-in eating tent.
It was the perfect Canada Day evening - not too hot, not too cold, no bugs, no clouds, no rain. We re-joined everyone else at the blankets where J-Blu and I munched on salt and vinegar chips and watermelon. A young mom and her little girl trotted past us purposefully, briskly - obviously a last-minute bathroom trip. Most of the conversations within earshot were in languages I don't speak - and it made me smile. I thought about similar community gatherings all over my country, thought about this old tradition of fireworks with strangers on holiday summer nights.
The sky darkened and the show began right on time. Lights and colours exploded in the sky in perfect timing, evoking "oooohhhhs" and "aaaahhhhhs" from the crowd. Spike texted me in the middle and I sent him a picture of what I was watching. We wished each other were either here or there, and sent a bunch of xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo's back and forth. The Beaner wrapped himself in two blankets and snuggled into my lap, quickly falling asleep entirely. I let my vision de-focus a little, and found myself in a 3D experience that didn't require a movie ticket, as the fireworks seemed to come right at me, almost surrounding me, then pulling back each time at the very last second.
When it was over, the crowd cheered, clapped and whistled. Then we all gathered up blankets, food and kids, squinting into the darkness to make sure we hadn't forgotten anything or anyone, and trekked en masse out of the park. Back at my place, we had a cup of tea while waiting for the traffic to clear. Mill and the Beaner passed out together on the couch, each apparently unaware of the other (which was probably for the best.)
After everyone left I glanced online and found out that a few of you were at the same place I was. Wish I had seen you, but it's kinda nice to think you were there too.
And to my American friends and family - Happy (upcoming) 4th of July!