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Fireworks aren’t all they’re cracked up to be

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My favorite part of the Fourth of July celebration is the children’s parade on North Main Street.

It is such a colorful, happy (well, except for the occasional teary tot) sea of children, parents, pets, bicycles, scooters, wagons and strollers festooned with bunting and American flags. It’s usually hot and humid but that never seems to dampen the spirits.

It is amazing to see the size of the current parades and compare them to the early 1970s when Janie Ali and Geri Stenzel gathered up a few local children to walk up White Street waving little flags to kick off the first town Fourth of July festivities. My youngest was a part of that little group and she continued to participate in the parades that moved to North Main the following years.

The parade was followed by fun and games at the ballfield on Wingate Street (where the Boys & Girls Club is now) and my two older children ran races, chased after watermelons being spun around by fire hoses and tried to climb a greased pole.

The fireworks started small and have grown through the years to a major destination event, and it is something a lot of people look forward to every year. Me? Not so much. I love the way fireworks look, but I don’t like the sounds. There are others who share my aversion.

I vividly remember one year when we hosted two large grand-dogs during firework time. They usually stayed home when their family was out of town and got a couple of visits every day for food, ear scratches and potty breaks, but since they lived very close to the high school where the firework show was held, they had a sleepover with grandparents for the big event.

They arrived armed with prescription anxiety pills from Walgreens. The town’s big bangs were barely noticeable in the distance and all went well until people in the nearby neighborhoods started their own celebrations. The dogs were too big to hide under the couch, but they tried. I suppose the anxiety pills helped, but it was hard to tell. I gave serious thought to downing a couple myself.

Jean McCamy is a Wake Forest artist.

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