Armed and Dangerous
Resisting the urge to hoard these for the pretty colors.
Early in our marriage, IZ and I lived in Seattle, on Queen Anne Hill. Our little rentals was within walking distance of Kinnear Park, so to avoid the parking mess, we would pack a thermos of coffee and our homemade cherry pie and walk to the park on the 4th of July to watch the fireworks. We would huddle up together, because traditionally Summer does not arrive until July 5th in the Pacific Northwest, wrapped in a blanket or two and wait for the best show of the year. Happy to have our warm coffee. Elated to be watching the night sky light up so beautifully with the city as a backdrop. Oh, I love that one best. No, no, that one. Relieved to be able to walk home and avoid all the crazy drunk drivers after the show.
There is just something about big display fireworks that gets me every time. Our tradition was such a huge part of our life, that when dear friends of ours invited us to join their 4th of July tradition when Geo was 7, I wasn’t so sure. We accepted the invitation immediately, but then we worried ourselves. Would we miss the big show? Would we feel the same, to not be making a trek to a park with coffee and pie in hand?
But off we went. And sitting on a quiet street, on a warm night, (for life had moved us to a balmier California!) we sipped champagne and watched our child experience the ridiculously wonderful and dangerous fun of home fireworks. Be careful! Let an adult light that! We didn’t miss the big show, the one in front of us was entertaining in its own fashion. And for the next few years, it would be the way we did things.
This is the nature of traditions. They grow with us. The practice of keeping traditions deepens our relationships with those who also keep them with us. But we would be fools to not be willing to change with the times. To not recognize the need to do something different. It’s not that we jettison the past with indifference. We simply bring that best part of us to this new way of being. Our faithfulness allows something new to emerge. It is the practice that is worth keeping. No matter what the practice might include. And we will look back on it, and see it as the beginning of a new tradition.
In many ways, our 4th of July traditions have come full circle. We can see the town’s firework display from our porch, and we snuggle up under blankets and drink coffee and eat pie and take in the beauty. Oh! I love that one best. No, no, that one. Oooh. . . so pretty.
We have moved far from friends on quiet balmy streets, but we still are armed and dangerous— we still sip champagne and watch our child tempt fate. Be careful! Don’t set the house on fire. Oh, I love that one best.