Friday, July 4, 2008

Protruding vomit hitting pavement

It's the Fourth. The holiday of big bangs and patriotic parades.

Independence Day was always filled with a mix of emotions. I looked forward to our suburban parade of drum cadences, fire trucks, and the presenting of the colors.

But I dreaded the party that followed, a tradition that had made my parents famous. It was an event that was often talked about months after the clouds of booms and bangs drifted out of the night's sky.

In our small back yard, we raised the volleyball net, fired up a multitude of grills, and iced the variety of kegs.

Patronage to the patriots!

Invitations were never sent. It was common knowledge that if you knew my parents, you knew that you were invited-- and your kids, too.

The parties started out innocent enough. The kids all chocking down hot dogs so they could beg their parents for money for the local carnival. The oldest of all the kids, I lead the group down the old dirt path to the park where we'd all inevitably argue which death trap we'd ride first.

Years later, I wounder how that traveling carnival ever met safety code requirements. Or how it is that no one was ever lost in the masses.

Hours would pass. Rounds and rounds of the Egg Roll ride, the Spide, and the Ten Top. Spent from standing in line after line, and broke from playing too many rounds of darts, all the kids would head back to our house... knowing that the climate had changed.

As darkness approched, so did the slurs of speech, droopy eyes, and staggered stances.

One year my mom insisted that I brush my teeth three different times before I went to bed. It was 8:00. At nine, I learned of adultery when I walked in on two of my friends' parents having sex in my bedroom-- not with their spouces. My mom tour her ACL trying to fight her pal for making eyes at my father. The next year, he was arrested for DUI during a beer run after the kegs went try.

Wendows were broken. Cars were crashed. People fought. It wasn't unusual for a member of the party to fall off our roof trying to get a better view of the fireworks over the trees that grew taller each year. It didn't even seem odd the year someone was arrested for trying to saw down those trees when they had finally grew to totally obstructed our view.

As bombs bursting in air, the sound of protruding vomit hitting pavement rang in the background.

My parents knew how to honor the Founding Fathers. This was the way to honor America.

An adult now, I've chosen to do things differently. My holiday are not about inebriation. An intiment cookout with a small group of friends and a few beers will suffice. I don't even need the booms and bangs. Sparklers in the backyard suffice. This year, impromptu front pourch cookout with the neighbors did the trick.

But I wonder about the kids I use to walk that dirt path with to the land of cotton candy and elephant ears. Did they find in a way out like I have? Or are they falling off a roof top somewhere, right now, vomiting on pavement. Are their children watching with giggles, hiding in secret their fright and shame?

I'll only brush my teeth once tonight.

God Bless America.

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