No Fireworks on July 4th? What the frak!?!

Friday’s “What the frak…?” moment (WTFM) is brought to you by………..

Fireworks, or rather, the lack of them awaiting us on July 4th: I live in central Texas. We’re in a drought and triple digit heat. It’s like reliving 2009 all over again, minus the third trimester pregnancy. But this year the government and fire fighters are doing something about it: banning, canceling, or “postponing” any use of fireworks.

I grew up in Iowa.

Personal fireworks were not allowed, and I spent my childhood allowed to set off two things: sparklers and snakes. That’s it.

It wasn’t enough to dampen my love of July 4th, the excitement and anticipation of The Big Show, sitting close enough you could feel the professional firework explosions as the colors rained above you, flinching as the Big Booms echoed off any buildings.

It was magic.

When I moved to Texas eight years ago, I learned a new joy: setting off my fireworks and watching my neighbors do the same.

CG and I were kids again.

Then we procreated.

Suddenly, July 4th and the freedom to set off fireworks on our own street was no longer a blessing, but an event transforming us into That Neighbor.

You know the one? Trying to rain on everyone else’s fun because Thunder Kings exploded forty feet from the baby’s bedroom and he’s already woken up pissed off once?

Yup. That was me.

So when I heard personal fireworks were banned this year, I viewed it from The Mom standpoint: “Thank God I don’t have to be That Neighbor, yelling at kids and parents to please move elsewhere or stop by 10 PM.”

Thursday, as I searched for professional fire works displays in the area, I was shocked to discover the truth.

There aren’t any. At all.

I don’t understand.

Every year, minus one, has meant little rainfall after June 1st. We even had a torrential downpour a few weeks ago, breaking our months of almost no rain.

Every year, minus one, it’s been in triple digit heat. In 2009, it was 105 degrees. To enjoy the outdoors, we donned bathing suits and ran in the sprinklers, then stayed wet setting off our fireworks (and watching the neighbors). It was still 104 when we went inside at 10 PM.

Every year, I run my sprinkler for 5 minutes at dusk “just in case” a spark flies.

But this year is special.

This year is somehow much worse.

They banned personal fireworks. I can live with that.

They banned the selling of fireworks. What?

They banned the professional displays or postponed them.

What. The. Frak.

They don’t know what the conditions will be like on July 4th.

Fires are bad, don’t get me wrong, but isn’t there ONE  place they could’ve taken excessive measures to make it safe? Like… over a lake?

I understand the practicality.

I embrace the personal fireworks ban – it will be nice to have one year I don’t have to be Evil Mommy protecting her babies from the loud noises during bedtime. And people can be total idiots where firework safety is concerned.

But I really wish I had a way to show it to Lil Diva – who absolutely LOVED the professional display last year – before she develops the fear The Tackler did of any loud boom.

Or shoot Roman candles – the only firework The Tackler really likes.

This is the face I'll miss, the wonderment over Roman candles (in 2009). Of course, he's terrified of anything loud, or was...

To take away all of the fireworks feels like banning Christmas lights at Christmas – removing the one thing weaving the magic. As a child or an adult.

It makes me wish we planned a trip elsewhere because the things we typically enjoy on the 4th won’t be happening.

I guess there’s always next year.

What are your 4th of July plans???


About Kelly K @ Dances with Chaos

Kelly K has learned the five steps to surviving of motherhood: 1) Don't get mad. Grab your camera. 2) Take a photograph. 3) Blog about it. 4) Laugh. 5) Repeat. She shares these tales at Dances with Chaos in order to preserve what tiny amount of sanity remains. You can also find her on her sister blog, Writing with Chaos ( sharing memoir and engaging in her true love: fiction writing. It's cheaper than therapy.
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10 Responses to No Fireworks on July 4th? What the frak!?!

  1. mairedubhtx says:

    I live in San Antonio and we have the same bans. What is July 4th without fireworks? I grew up in NY where there were no personal fireworks but we always went to my grandparents’ house to go to the park where there were fireworks. I will miss them sorely this year.

    • Because we didn’t have the personal ones growing up (unless someone we knew made “The Missouri Trip” to the border to pick some up), I looked forward to the professional displays.

      Not that we had those every year on the 4th – sometimes they were rained out, but usually they took place the next night.

      Austin’s “postponed” stance confuses me. The rain typically doesn’t arrive with any regularity before September… and you can’t really call a September display something for the 4th of July….

  2. Jonathan Mugan says:

    Yeah, I love walking around my neighborhood in Buda on July 4 looking at fireworks in all directions. Too bad I won’t be doing that this year.

  3. Kate says:

    Kelly – Snakes and those witch’s whistles are two of my faves. I totally feel your disappointment and frustration at not being able to enjoy fireworks on July 4. Firework shows — both personal and professional — are special events I share with my children, husband, and neighbors as well. It is one of 2 times year (Halloween being the other) when neighbors come together, share some drinks and celebrate good times. It is very loud starting the end of June through mid-July. Our dog hates this holiday.

    • My first Texas 4th of July was also when I met most of my neighbors – we’d only lived here for almost a month. One had a barbecue for lunch, then time in the pool. Then in the evening, everyone baked desserts and we took turns setting off our personal fireworks. It was awesome.

      Now most of the kids are teens and do it themselves – and I have to go ask them to please move it away from my children’s bedrooms after 9:30….

      How life changes…

  4. Annie says:

    It was 113 here yesterday. ouchie-wah-wah. No fireworks stinks, but reducing the risk of massive fire is good. This intense dry heat is nothing to mess with. I can’t remember what year it was (maybe 2006) but Texas had a terrible summer fire my uncle had to help clean up after and the destruction was unbelievable. (He worked for the county.)

    Sounds like they are going a bit overboard on the precautions. Hopefully they are just postponed!

  5. Long Beach also has a no personal fireworks rule, but do you suppose my neighbors observe it? Not so much. The problems it causes aren’t even with my son! Li’l D slept through the fireworks last year, but our dog? He didn’t fare so well. I wonder what this year will be like . . .

    I do love fireworks, though. I love that there are a dozen places I can take Li’l D to see the fireworks, if I feel like it. The thought of not having the option makes me really sad, actually; so many Fourths were spent in my mom’s driveway, setting off fireworks and delighting in how they lit the night. I’d love Li’l D to experience a taste of that, somehow. It really was magic to me and my siblings, and I suspect the same will hold true for my little guy.

    No plans for this weekend! I have a few books I look forward to “readwalking” to, but . . . nothing special. Which is kinda a nice change!

    Sorry about the fireworks 😦

  6. I’m with you- my favorite thing on the 4th is sitting on my porch with a beer and watching the fireworks. Maybe we can bring the TV outside? I know fire, responsibility etc, but I love my yearly fireworks show…plus, it’s our anniversary weekend, so we can pretend they’re for us….Happy 4th- make it sparkle anyway… 🙂

  7. Are there any borders you can cross near you? Well, you can always cross your fingers that some antisocial group of trouble-makers will buy them illegally and set off a display. I’m sure they’d advertise in the paper.

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