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No matter your age, it seems like you’re always waiting for fireworks…Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. The younger you are, the longer the wait. Growing up in suburban Chicago, neighboring townships would each have fireworks displays, and if you sat in the right place in your yard, absent a tree, you could see two or three celebrations at once.
Though I’ve seen fireworks around this nation, none were better than the ones enjoyed with my family and grandparents in the Logan’s front yard, yes, the same house where we took swimming lessons, truly the best places to watch fireworks.
We’d line up old-school folding, strapped lawn chairs in the direction of the anticipated display. Sleeping bags were laid out in the damp, thick green lawn, and there the waiting would begin.
What felt like nightfall was never dark enough for the fireworks to launch, until suddenly, after chasing lightening bugs, the first pop signaled the start of the show.
We’d dash in and out of the Logan’s garage, where a folding table displayed a whole spread of July 4th-themed treats, including the obligatory strawberry, blueberry and cream cheese flag-inspired dessert. A box of sparklers lay ready for after-dark fun.
What felt like nightfall was never dark enough for the fireworks to launch, until suddenly, after chasing lightening bugs, the first pop signaled the start of the show. I marvel at how we could spend all day anticipating something that lasted only 15 minutes, but for one day each year, the magic of fireworks made it all worthwhile.
As I got older, the best places to watch fireworks took so more work to get to, but the quest continued—a train commute into the city, a mile-long walk and a bustling crowd. In the nation’s capital, firework-watching requires navigating a yet bigger crowd with security checks and over-crowded transportation.
Years ago, I watched fireworks over a local baseball field in Napa Valley. It was the closest thing we could find from our Calistoga Hot Springs hotel.
Fireworks in Coronado California are shot over the ocean on a moon-lit night. Fireworks in the San Juan Islands are best seen from Friday Harbor in a vintage hotel all dressed in red, white and blue. Fireworks in Mackinac Island, Michigan are inspired by The Grand Hotel, that looks like it was literally born for the Fourth of July year-round.
I’ve seen fireworks in a place called Anthem, Arizona and from a lake called Okabojee in Iowa. I’ve celebrated July 4th from Italy and Mexico, and though it’s not the same, finding the best seat in the house for the fireworks display remains a priority today! The quest to find the best places to watch fireworks still feels worthy.
So, get out and enjoy the fireworks this year. After more than a year locked down at home, it’s exciting to get out and celebrate the freedom to go out, dine out, travel and get together with family and neighbors like the Logans.
I think this occasion deserves a brilliant Jello mold, just because. After all the waiting, let the celebration begin.
May you find joy, happiness and of course, beauty this holiday.
Renee M. Dee