Monday, July 7, 2008

A Bear, Two Dears & Fireworks

More traditions - what can I say? As mentioned, we go to a local country club for the fireworks. We take cream-cheese-and-olive finger sandwiches (this year we had black olive AND green olive sandwiches); we had Trader Joe's potato chips, Mr Dearling's faves; we had two ... no, THREE kinds of cookies, because Donna brought some delicious little shortbread cookies; and we had the requisite lemonade. I forgot our usual picnic basket with, you know, PLATES. Napkins. But that was OK, we managed. Some people think I wear those long dresses, often with aprons, because it's "my look" -- truth is, you can use the inside of the hem of a long skirt really well as a napkin, but you didn't hear that from me.

This year Miss Iris didn't care to go along, so my family of bears was represented by my dear old friend, Travellin' Pete (seen above with his flag, resting in the knitting basket). He often travels (hence his moniker) and often in the knitting basket. He looks like an old bear and is made of lovely "distressed mohair", but he is in fact newish, (as well as Jewish), and was made by a highly-skilled needlewoman of our acquaintance. NOTE: "Distressed mohair" means that it's been rubbed up or some such, so that it looks old. Believe me when I say, Pete is NOT distressed. He may be the most laid-back teddy bear you've ever seen.

The advantage of going early is that you get prime real estate, and folks come out early to put down their blankets. (Folks do that for the Concert on the Square too, and it's FINE. There's always plenty of space, even for latecomers, but half the fun is getting there while there are still choices.) Because it was sunny, we put down our blankets, baskets, backpack &c and then retired to a shady spot under some trees for our nosh. We were in view of our stuff - but I still enjoy the fact that one needn't be TOO uptight about such things. (I once left my purse on the Union Terrace under my chair, realized it about five blocks away and trotted back - to find it exactly where it was!)

When we'd tidied up our nosh, we repaired back to our blanket and Donna and I pulled out our needles. She's making a Remarkable, Luxurious Afghan (using only one puny little hook, can you imagine??) and I was working on my Dr Who scarf.

As you can see, the crowd thickens early on, while there's still plenty of sunlight, and there's a powerful lot of socializing in general. Note that I was wearing my Fibertarian button, it being a Patriotic Event and all. Something that I noticed a little more this year than I had in the past: when it gets crowded like that, it's sometimes hard for parties to find their parties, if you know what I mean....and in this, our 21st century, there's a lot of standing-up people shouting into their cell phones OVER HERE OVER HERE I SEE YOU LOOK TOWARD THE TREES!! For MY part, we have a teddybear head-onna-stick (I'll have to show you that some time) which stands out in crowds when necessary. OK - the truth is, we bought it so Mr Dearling can find me at Barnes & Noble on account of I'm considerably shorter than the bookshelves; when I hold my bearhead-onna-stick way up in the air he can find me pretty easily. I think it sort of embarrasses him -- em-BEAR-asses him (couldn't resist, but no, I don't apologize) but it's highly effective.

Travellin' Pete had a question about Benjamin Franklin - he's been reading our "Farmers' Almanac" in the biffy, and Mr Dearling is very knowledgeable about Franklin, so they had a very earnest discussion. The truth is, Travellin' Pete is an unabashed flag-waving, tree-hugging, eco-liberal hippie; I've heard him shout "BITE HIM!" at the television set during Presidential Announcements. That's my bear!

Eventually, darkness fell and the fireworks began, to the impatient rhythmic clapping of the crowd. There was an announcement over the PA system at the beginning, stating that there would be a few new offerings -- because much of their order had been delayed and they were notified they would be "delivered promptly - on Monday!" We could only assume they'll be saved up for next year. The display WAS a bit thinner than in previous years, but the three traditional ones were in evidence: there's always a ground display of two firemen facing one another with their hoses spraying sparkling white stars (the display is put on my the Shorewood Hills Fire Department). There's always a ground display everyone calls "the waterfall" - it's sort of a clothesline, with white sparks thickly spewing from the whole length of it and appearing to splash on the ground, and at the end, an American flag. Each of these is met with wild applause and cheers (I'm not the only one into tradition). I experimented with my new camera, which has a "fireworks" setting, and I will leave you with these images, which - while hardly *professional* quality, I find quite artsy-fartsy. I won't be entering into any competition, but I'm just a little old knitter-lady enjoying the display with family (Mr Dearling and Travellin' Pete) and friends (Donna - and a few thousand fellow Madisonians)


Anonymous said...

A camera with a fireworks setting? Who knew?

Alwen said...

We went to fireworks on the 4th, and they were lovely.

Then another local town had fireworks on Sunday, which I found very peculiar, but still couldn't pass up. So we had double fireworks, and our bedtimes are all askew now.

Lee said...

The picture of Mr. Dearling holding Pete and the flag is adorable! Pete appears to be looking right at Mr. D. saying "I'll hold the flag for awhile longer, if you don't mind." This reminded me much of a long-ago meeting of the bears on the Capitol lawn.

Jane said...

My camera has a fireworks setting, too. I have no idea how it works because I completely forgot to take the camera out of the bag. Looks like you had a great 4th, and your photos are wonderful!

Anonymous said...

That's sounds like a totally fun day! I don't know about your neck of the woods, but I was southwest of Chicago on the 4th, which is also my dad's birthday, and the weather was absolutely wonderful! I'm used to those 90-something afternoons where everything is sweating, and I don't think it got up to 85. It was even nice enough for me to work on my sock. In between the ribs. And the salmon my dad smoked. And the grilled one too. And the fried turkey. My dad knows how to throw a party, let me tell you. No fireworks, unless you count the spray of water from my sister's hubby throwing my kids into the pool!

Yarnhog said...

I'm with Travellin' Pete. But I've shouted far worse than "Bite him!" at the tv when Bush is on. People probably think my kids learned that language on the bus.