The same memory comes to mind when I reflect on the 4th of July. Every year was the same scene. Me standing at the screen door looking out watching my brother and all the other children enthralled in all kinds of fireworks. I finally would get coaxed to come outside when my brother promised a ceasefire. I would scrounge up all my nerve to come outside just to hold a sparkler. I would try to act like I was having fun while writing my name in the air. Truthfully, I was terrified and couldn’t wait to get back inside the house.
My brother, Mark, lived in a world of superheroes. Normally that wouldn’t be that much danger (except to his social life), but on the fourth of July, when I was 6 and he was 8, it was a bad combination. Our mom was frugal and wise. She only let us have black cats, snakes and sparklers. The big kids in the neighborhood had bottle rockets. As I looked from the screen door I could see Mark in the middle of the yard wearing his “PF Flyer Kid” costume; which included football shoulder pads, a helmet, and red rubber galoshes like Superman. Of course, he topped it off with the classic towel cape. One big kid was shooting bottle rockets out of a coke bottle. The PF Flyer Kid was flying through the neighborhood putting him at the exact place in the exact moment for the coke bottle to tip over and soar straight down into his red rubber boot. The blend of the rubber and the fire served as epoxy to the top of my brother’s trapped foot. He suffered third degree burns on that foot and a scar, which he carries with him proudly to this day.
This episode served to further strengthen my desire to stay as far away from fireworks as was humanly possible. Even tonight, as I hear the pop of black cats, I am transported back to my childhood and those long evenings on the 4th of July. When it comes to professional firework shows, I’m all in! I feel safe, and love the art of the beautifully synchronized colors from the sky. My favorite memory was watching the Disneyland fireworks from the hood of our car in our driveway in Anaheim, Ca. No one has ever been able to top that, in my book. There are lots of things I love about this holiday before it gets dark and the sky lights up. I love the red, white and blue. I love the country I was born and raised in. I love watermelon, apple pie, homemade ice cream, hot dogs, hamburgers, and all things America!
Without a doubt, the greatest thing about the 4th of July is being with family … sharing a meal, sharing stories, and sharing memories that bring joy and laughter. I am so grateful to live in a country where I am free to do the things I love. I want to say thank you to all those who serve our country to keep us free and safe. I never want to take these things for granted. The greatest freedom comes to us from Jesus Christ … to all who know and believe He died to set us free from our sin.
Psalm 119:45: “I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts.” Happy 4th of July!