Thursday, July 05, 2007

A Feast of Fireworks

Going to see fireworks a year ago, in a county outside of Baltimore, was a disappointment we didn't care to repeat, as we hadn't been able to get anywhere near where we had intended to park. So we decided this year to go to the Inner Harbor. We arrived at the garage, where Ed has a parking pass for work, at about eleven a.m., determined to get a parking space. As it turned out, the garage was nearly empty when we came, perhaps because it's some distance from the harbor and many visitors don't know about it.

Wanting this to be a thrifty day, we brought our own lunch and we didn't bite on any of the many ways to spend money: boating, shopping, boating, and...did I say boating? There were all different kinds of boat rides available and it was pretty tempting, but would also be pretty expensive. We did buy some good hamburgers for supper.

Our primary recreation? Walking. We walked all the way around the harbor, way beyond where we'd walked in the past. We walked through the malls. We saw fudge being made in an open factory. Highlight of the day: we saw a fire show, a man playing with torches of fire. (If you've read the child's book Inspell, think of Dustfinger.) Our other occupations were sitting to rest our legs, talking and laughing, and looking at our watches to see how much longer until the 9:30 p.m. fireworks.

All day the moisture hung heavy in the air. We had one afternoon squall, but after that the sun came out. About 9 p.m., though, another squall came. And at about 9:10 God sent his own fireworks for the appetizer, lighting up the whole sky again and again. The two huge cruise boats came in, blocking the view where the fireworks were to be set off. Apparently seeing the boats coming, or knowing they'd be coming, the bulk of the crowd moved down to a better vantage point. We didn't yet know where all the people were going, so we stayed, moving up to an awning with the thinning crowd in front of the visitor's center. By this time, the wind had whipped up, even our umbrellas hadn't kept us from getting soaked, and the radio station had gone quiet.

Still, there was a holiday atmosphere among most. And soon the rain slowed and the radio announcer said, "There is a rain delay in, a monsoon delay, but the fireworks WILL go on." And - very nearly on time - the fireworks did go on! And what a feast it was.

Although there was just a little "window" of space between the two cruise boats, we were among those who were able to get up close to the edge of the harbor...I was especially happy that where we were standing was a "ring-side seat" for Peter. Burst after burst of colorful lights appeared in the sky, accompanied by patriotic songs from the radio station and the feeling of excitement from the crowd. After about twenty minutes of bursts had slowly lighted up the sky, we got a surprise. From a different place, yards across the bay from that spot, suddenly came more bursts, bigger, better, and lots faster than the previous ones. It was like we hadn't been expecting dessert...and here it was, gourmet and delicious. This finale lasted about ten minutes, concluding in clapping and yells of approval; and then we trudged, tired, wet and happy back to the car.

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