Wednesday, July 10, 2013

One memorable Independence Day

We found the best place to watch the Fish Creek fireworks Saturday night, but it’ll probably never be quite the best place ever again. That’s the funny thing – and the fun thing – about life: Each experience is a mixture of elements that will never quite mix the same way again, because of the infinite variety of ingredients.

In this case, those ingredients involved a car leaving its parking space two blocks from the water just as we drove up, so after a short walk we had blundered into nearly a front-row seat for the big show.

After what has seemed like weeks if not months of weekend work on our new house and yard, Red and I chose to spend a few hours enjoying Door County, which was the ultimate purpose of building here in the first place. We dined in Baileys Harbor, where the temperature along Lake Michigan was a good 15 degrees cooler than our hot bayside yard, and then went over to catch Fish Creek’s famous Venetian Boat Parade and festival-ending fireworks.

From our vantage point we could see a group of young ladies in dark suits, which appeared to have electric lights built into them, clamber into a boat decorated with Christmas lights. With a whoop and a holler, they pulled out of the slip and headed toward the parade staging area.

We could see the lighted boats gathering in the harbor as the fireworks barge was slowly pushed from the shore. When the time came for the parade through the harbor, we could see the dark-suited ladies, or more precisely we saw the lights, which made them appear to be stick figures dancing in the night. Bringing up the rear was a stately yacht decked out in lights, including U.S. flags on the bow and a fully lighted Christmas tree on the stern, with a powerful sound system booming “America the Beautiful” over the water.

Promptly at 10 p.m. the fireworks began. And it was quite a display for the next 20 minutes or so.

What most made it memorable was a bit of serendipity. We happened to have camped our yard chairs near a young couple who just loved fireworks. Loved them. The woman especially was delighted by every red glare of the rockets and every bomb bursting in air.

It was like having a color commentator describing the show: “Oooh. Crinklies. Cracklers. I like those – and those. That one’s like a bow tie. Oh, a perfect circle, or maybe it’s more of an oval. Whooo! Here comes a big, big one. Oh! Waterfalls! I like the bright sparklies. Ooh, nice: Boom! Ooh! A little surprise at the end there.”

She seemed to react to every explosion and appreciate each blast of light. Her companion punctuated her enthusiastic chatter with an occasional “More! More like that!” or “Oh, that one’s coming all the way down to the water.” 

This was, indeed, one terrific fireworks show. The grand finale was as grand as independence itself, a crescendo of sight and sound that kept coming and kept coming until it flamed itself out to a hearty roar that seemed to come from every nook and cranny along the shore. The pyrotechnicians even launched a few extra fireworks at the end, as an encore. Beautiful!

The ingredients mixed perfectly. It was a beautiful, calm evening along the water; the crowd was big but not oppressively so; the fireworks display was spectacular; and we had an entertaining narration from a truly appreciative narrator. I should have turned around and told her how much she had enhanced the show, but as crowds do everyone melted away into the night so quickly.

We hope to return another Independence Day weekend and do it again, but it’s hard to imagine the ingredients mixing so perfectly again. That’s why memories are so precious.

Cross-posted to Door County Advocate

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