My Fourth of July Experience

Most know I sell fireworks. Almost every year since I can remember, I have been a salesman. When I was younger, I would hide in the large package boxes underneath the shelves, and always try ways to keep the doors shut because I didn’t like the wind knocking over the fountains. Our family has seen the rise and fall of firework acclaim in Idaho Falls, Idaho, from hoards lining up at our opening day at the Golden Dragon Firework stand, to the seven days of solitude with an occasional solicitation for free fireworks from an ADD adolescent without caring parents.
This year, as I became more and more jaded with firework sales, it finally came time to shut down the stand and head off to watch the fireworks. Mom and I packed up all the signs and lowered the doors, set the alarms, and drove the two miles to park in a gas station lot. It was here we would watch the acclaimed Melaleuca Firework show. The clouds had cleared, and the final luminations from the sun gradually faded and gave way to a darkness that buzzed with a rising excitement like radiation from the ground. You know, like when you’re driving and you look towards the horizon and the ground waves back and forth from the emanating heat waves.
Anyway, we tuned into KLCE 97.3, the official station for the firework show soundtrack, and reclined our leather F-350 bucket seats. The show had begun.
I couldn’t shake a meloncholy cloud out of my head. The fireworks were extravagant. The shells erupted with brilliant greens and sparkling blues and reds. Some of them would shower down like weeping willow branches, or explode into the shapes of planets and hearts. We listened to Lee Greenwood’s raspy and moving, “I’m proud to be an American” and the symphony piece from Yani. I reflected on many things, and was reminded of my time in England when I stood next to a monument to Rupert Brooke, and remembered his own patriotism for his country, imbued on the words of his poem, “The Soldier”:

If I should die, think only this of me:
That there’s some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England’s, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.

And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.

Amidst all of the corporate and commercial viruses that infect this country, the exponentiation of our population and destruction of space and privacy, the staggering rise of the cost of living, and general cynicism experienced here, I love America. And I’m proud to be here.

I also thought about the people in my life I’m surrounded by and how lucky, blessed, I am to know them. I have the greatest family, the greatest peers, teachers, mentors, role models, … I thought, as bombs continued to burst in the air, how emotions can affect ones actions and how, on many occasions, my emotions blurred my vision and caused me to say and do things inappropriate or uncalled for.

Why my mind went to this I don’t know. I recognize a great parallel from the movie “Definitely, Maybe” where William Hayes lets his life go to shit, confesses his love for April in a drunken stupor, and then insults her. He didn’t mean it. He also made a huge error in keeping her father’s book for so long, but his heart was good. I hope that in the movie of my life, viewers can realize that I’m not perfect, and sometimes my emotions speak over my own voice. I don’t think we can blame our emotions; we just recognize is for what it is.

It’s funny what makes you intimate on certain things, and it seems that certain thoughts and emotions tie themselves to eachother. I guess my gratitude humbled me and the dissonance of being thankful for everyone and disappointed in certain actions of mine made me sad. What have I to do but blog about it?

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