My daughter always puts on a great 4th of July get together filled with lightning bugs and fireworks. It is always an entertaining event. #4th of July #family #lightning bugs #mac and cheese #poor man’s baked beans
Lightning Bugs and Fireworks
The church across the street from my daughter’s house puts on a magnificent fireworks extravaganza on the Fourth of July. They have fun, games, and food available to anyone who wants to participate. We aren’t the sort of people to let free stuff pass us by. Luckily, she and her husband are willing to host the horde of heathens who descend upon them for these holiday events. It’s not unusual to see so many cars parked on the grass in their front yard it looks like they’ve gone into business as a used car lot. Rooster and I loaded the mac & cheese and the Poor Man’s Bake Beans I made into the Sunshine Mobile and drove across town to enjoy an evening filled with lightning bugs and fireworks.
My version of mac & cheese is a dish I came up with back in the 1980s for family events such as Thanksgiving and Christmas. When I finish baking it, the casserole weighs about five pounds. Poor Man’s Bake Beans I learned to watch my mother make them when I was a kid. She grew up during the depression. The recipe I create from memory calls for several cans of pork-n-beans, brown sugar, and ketchup, but not necessarily in that order. These two dishes are family favorites.
A family holiday get together
They are requested for all our get-togethers. People want the recipe. I can’t give it to them because I haven’t got around to writing it down yet. I’ve never measured out the ingredients or make it the same way twice. My son-in-law and his father are experts when it comes to operating the grill. There are always enough desserts spread out on the island in my daughter’s kitchen to send us all into a diabetic coma.
Rooster’s contribution to the meal is to relax until the food is finished and eat a good portion of it when it’s done. It’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it. If you’re looking for healthy food, the odds of getting any here are 20 to 1.
After we finished eating, we had several hours to wait until dark. That’s the time predicted for the church across the street to start shooting fireworks into the sky. The kids and the teenagers entertained themselves by playing games in the backyard. Most of the adults hung out inside where it was cool. It seemed to take forever for the sun to make its descent from the sky. Rooster and I bought new lawn chairs for the fireworks display. The idea was to have the most comfortable seats in the house while we watched the dazzling extravaganza.
Waiting for the fireworks to begin
We picked out a spot and got comfortable while we waited for the festivities to begin. Metal folding chairs were set up to accommodate anyone who forgot to bring their own. My daughter and her husband were the only people on her block to create a party out of the free firework display. Her neighbors were too stuffy to through a shindig on the magnitude happening in their front yard.
The wait, once we got seated, was almost the best part of the event. The anticipation and high expectations regarding what was about to take place up in the sky above our head is enough to get our blood flowing. The church across the street provided face painting and other fun activities for the kids in the neighborhood and anyone who wandered into their parking lot. The kids came back looking like circus clowns and characters from futuristic movies.
The kids run wild
They had so much fun running wild in the twilight of the approaching night. As the landscape around me started to grow dusky, I noticed lightning bugs for the first time this year. The lights attached to their backsides glowed brightly against the high grass in the field next to the church. I remember catching these elusive bugs when I was a kid. We’d put them in a pickle or jelly jar and watch their tails light up as we fell asleep at night. They would be dead by morning if we forgot to put a hole in the lid of the jar we’d trapped them in.
We didn’t stop to wonder if we were taking these tiny insects away from their bug life. When we made them our tiny prisoners, we never considered they might have a home and family to get back to. I always thought lightning bugs were one of the most amazing mysteries of summer. (How did they make their tails light up anyway? I know there must be a scientific explanation.)
The nice thing about the hot temperatures showing up so late in the year is the absence of mosquitoes out to suck blood from your body. The tiny vampires with the pointy fangs are a part of warm weather I can do without. It was nice to sit in the approach of moonlight without being tormented by these disease-carrying pests.
The fireworks start
Fireworks show always starts slow and builds to a booming finale. The one the church put on proved to be no different. Rocket after a rocket was shot into the air. The explosions that followed were amazing blasts of color lighting up the night sky. Brilliant greens, purples, reds, blues, and golden sparkles flashed across a starless black sky. At times, it appeared the colored fire would rain down upon our heads. The fireworks were beautiful. It’s easy to forget what they signify.
They are a reminder of the fight we waged to earn our freedom over two centuries ago. With all the political turmoil in our country, I believe we have forgotten we are one nation under God. The citizens of our country have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, which was a novel concept in the age when we won our independence. People streamed to our shores in search of those lofty ideals.
We are a nation of immigrants trying to achieve a better life for ourselves and our families. I think we have a tendency to be ungrateful for what we’ve achieved on our American shores. We did it together and not as warring factions. The point is we are so much stronger as a whole than we are apart.
Summer is here
Summer is finally here. The monsoons of spring have stopped. The corn is ankle-high this year. The knee-high measuring stick has been shoved to the back of our mind as an expectation for a future growing season. Sometimes you play the cards you’ve been dealt and make the best of a bad situation. We spent a wonderful evening filled with lightning bugs and fireworks.
Lightning bugs are going about their business in the humidity left behind by the heat of the day. Our family had a good time gathering for food and fireworks on an Indiana night in the month of July. Everyone headed for home once the last rocket exploded. The world is still turning, and Rooster and I are well fed and tired. It’s time to put the earplugs in and crawl into bed.
The neighbor bought five hundred dollars’ worth of fireworks from the stand in the gas station parking lot. They have only shot off a hundred dollars’ worth so far. It’s going to be a long night. Come on, people. Some of us need to work in the morning.
Who is Molly Shea?
Molly Shea is an accomplished fictional short story writer from Indiana, who writes short stories and novels about a fictional town called Tecumseh. To read more of her short stories and adventures click here.
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