I couldn't go without blogging about my favorite holiday, the Fourth of July. And, I couldn't go without blogging about the BEST 4th of July EVER. The problem is, I've been having bloggers block about how to write about the BEST 4th of July EVER. It was such a crazy event that I can't quite find the words for it. It was a 4th of July for the books. It's up there with last year's celebration at Claremont High School, 1999's hottest 4th of July EVER in Washington DC, and 4th of July's with the family at Front Range as a kid. It even beats 2002 when we accidentally went to the 9/11 memorial fireworks in NYC instead of the real fireworks show...oh, those were good times.
The day started off nice enough. It would have been one of those perfect Saturdays (except that it was Wednesday which is still throwing off my weekly clock). We toured the Tillamook Cheese Factory in the morning and then spent the afternoon playing at Cannon Beach. This is the beach with the famous "Haystack Rock" featured in one of my all time favorite movies - The Goonies. We napped in the sun, walked in the surf and just enjoyed a beautiful day on the Oregon Coast. After our frolicking, we went up to Seaside Oregon which is a lovely little beach town that reminds me a lot of Atlantic City, circa 1952. We had a delicious dinner and then headed toward the beach...this is where things get good.
On our way up the street I smelled the most wonderful smell...fire and sulfur mixed with sea air. It made me feel all nostalgic and happy but I'm kind of an idiot and I couldn't quite place the smell...I kept thinking, "beach bonfire?" Well, the source of the smell became apparent as we rounded the corner and the view of the beach opened up. The beach was packed with people, all of whom had spent thousands of dollars on fireworks. I've never lived in a state where fireworks of this caliber are legal, and I'm not even sure that they are legal in Oregon. But, whatever the laws ...they were not abided on the beach that day. These fireworks went beyond sparklers, beyond whizzing whirly things that sit on the ground and throw flames and sparks, even beyond roman candles (though all of those things were there in abundance). We are talking full blown, for real fireworks being set off by (presumably untrained) every day Joe's who were most likely drunk (judging by the plethora of beer cans already strewn around the beach). Dangerous? Yes. Life threatening? Yes. Amazingly fun? Yes.
Most of the parties on the beach had dug these pits - not fire pits - but these gigantic pits in the ground that had a bench made of sand that went around the perimeter and were big enough to fit at least 12 people and still have room for a fire in the middle. I was pretty bummed that we didn't have a pit. Not only because it would have been super fun, but also because it would have served nicely as a fox hole. We certainly needed the protection. For at least an hour before the actual fireworks show started, huge fireworks were going off all around us. It was great to sit there in our beach chairs and watch all of the money people had spent being blown up in the sky for our entertainment. It was even great when I had to grab my friend and run, screaming "dive! dive!" in order to avoid being blown up by a firework being set off by some college kids right next to where we had been sitting. It seriously felt like a combat zone at times, with loud cracks and bangs going off all around, black smoke rolling from the source of the explosions, and the strong smell of burning things. I'm an extroverted person who thrives on external stimuli, and even I was a little overstimulated at times. Most of my patients would have had a serious melt-down.
But, all danger and PTSD triggering aside, it was a fabulous night. Just what the 4th of July should be - outside, hanging with friends and watching amazing fireworks. I finally understood what it really means when we sing, "The Bombs Bursting in Air" and got just a tiny glimpse of what it must have been like to fight for our nation's freedom.