Monday, July 5, 2010

Small town USA July 4th

July 4th in a small neighborhood in Spring, Texas, was like thousands of small towns throughout the United States on this occasion. Starting with a bicycle parade ending at the local community park, a hundred or so residents gathered to have a picnic and watch fireworks.
Lovely people of all ages munched on something cold or something spicy in the heat of the Houston area. It is always hot on July 4th, and this year was no different.

Whoever wanted to get sweaty in the heat were welcome to join in a game of volleyball using a makeshift "net" but without the net. All that was important were the people and the ball. From there, we had a volleyball game! Amazingly, after such rains over the past week, there were no mosquitoes to bother people.

Some young people were driving a mule around just to enjoy the social aspect afforded by the event. They were dressed in red, white and blue. Even the mule four-wheeler was dressed out in national colors.

The fun goes beyond the people. You need to bring your pet to such an event. This boxer was seen to almost endlessly wag his tail as he greeted each person or dog that came along. People dressed the way they wanted for the event. Some came in colorful shirts, shorts, hats or whatever. This dog wore a red white and blue band bandanna.

For sure, July 4th provides many photo opportunities for families and friends.  This pretty lady got in my lens when she was using her lens.

Over the loud speaker you could hear the announcement throughout the park: " we will have fireworks at dusk. This is a reminder that we are raising money to replace a Live Oak Tree that was destroyed by winds last year. Come get some lemonade or other item to help us raise the finds we need, as exhibited by the fund raising sign. Remember - to have fireworks, we need your contributions each year for the fireworks display. The association cannot pay for it because of the risk. The association dues are not for that purpose." 

The voluntary fire department was of course there as a first responder for any problems associated with fireworks. The announcer made sure she got the point across why the community fireworks display is a good idea. It is to displace the personal use of fireworks. They are dangerous and create a risk to people and property. Little did she know that this night would underscore her words with an exhibit of what can happen. While families gathered in the evening, the fire department provided children with the opportunity to hear and see the sirens and lights and water spraying from the truck. That is always a hit and a very good tradition at about every small town fireworks display.

Friends found each other here and some out-of-towners had not seen each other or seen old time friends for a  long time.

People caught up on one another, including the teens and even in this modern Facebook instant real time era where the exchange of life's events occur daily. 

And then the guys prepared to shoot the fireworks.

As the sun began to set and move behind the horizon, the time was approaching to celebrate America's independence by tune and by fireworks. Now the music began.  
Suddenly, here came the fireworks.

The skies were filled with explosions and color.

Spectators were fairly close to the source but far enough away where the remnants of the burning display would not fall on clothes or start a fire. The materials fell harmlessly on the grass reserved for that purpose. There was hardly any wind, helping to mitigate any fire risk.

Then everything seemed to go wrong!  Oh no!!! Cried some spectators. What has happened? The entire source area turned into a burning inferno. One misfired cracker started a a chain reaction that was frightening! Suddenly a beautiful fireworks display turned sour. The crowd gasped in horror, holding their breath, praying that no one was hurt. Fortunately on this night, the technicians putting on the event were not hurt. They departed the area immediately when the first cracker went awry. These people were trained to react to the incident, and the fire department was trained to respond.  Within 20 minutes, the technicians recovered the remaining explosives and announced that the display would go on, and it did. If a private untrained person had been conducting this display, it might not have had such a good ending. But this story ended with more fireworks, a resumed effort and determined crew wished to remember the event, not by the incident, but by the very much appreciated recovery from the incident.

Happy birthday America : from Hometown America.