Give Me Rockets Like Flowers

Terrye Turpin
5 min readJul 3, 2019

I am not especially patriotic, but I love a good fireworks display. I’m not sure how I came to this attraction to all things bright and sparkly. It isn’t nostalgia. The only fireworks I remember in my childhood involved a car trip with my parents down a deserted country road. We stopped outside the city limits and my dad unloaded a paper sack of bottle rockets that we carried past a herd of curious cattle to the edge of a muddy pond on some stranger’s land. It wasn’t exactly the type of memory I’m anxious to recreate.

July 4th is the day we Americans celebrate our independence by setting off grass fires and frightening the neighborhood dogs. My husband Andrew and I set aside this date every year for our annual disagreement about fireworks. He prefers to ignore them and hide inside in the air conditioning (I think he must have been a Labrador retriever in a past life) while I insist that the holiday won’t be complete unless I watch something explode.

“I could always stick a sparkler up my butt and run around,” Andrew offered when I brought up a list of my favorite viewing spots.

“Not spectacular enough,” I rejected his offer.

Last year we compromised with an outing on July 3rd to the ballpark near our home to watch the Frisco Rough Riders play baseball. The schedule stated there would be fireworks following the game. We arrived at the stadium after the first inning and settled into our seats behind first base. I counted off the innings and willed the sun to set while we ducked at the occasional foul ball flying overhead. The ice in my soda melted and my thighs stuck to the plastic seat. The air filled with what was either the aroma of grilled hot dogs or my fellow spectators roasting in the summer heat. Around the 7th inning we rallied enough to stand and sing along with “God Bless America.”

As soon as the game ended I noticed a stream of people heading down from the stands.

“Should we follow them?” I asked.

The loudspeaker cut in, announcing that the fireworks would soon start. “They’ll be visible behind the first base section of the stands, fans will have a good view from the field,” the announcer said.

“That’s right over us,” Andrew pointed out. “I don’t think we’ll be able to see from here.” We…