Arguing a little about where to watch from. Get close to downtown for the full effect and noise, and fight the going-home traffic, or try it further away with less effect, but less traffic?
Factoring in a two-year-old who's sensitive to noise and trying to learn to like fireworks?
Further away wins. We hit the Krispie Kreme drive-thru first for supplies.
A near-empty parking lot next to train tracks on Main Street will be home for an hour or so. Still sunny and hot.
Camp chairs and Krispie Kremes and chocolate milk.
Pre-fireworks going off all around us. Lots of cars heading downtown.
The little girls think the real show has started. Taylor puts her fingers in her ears. When one goes off, then no more, Caroline asks if the show is done.
We bicker a little about if the building in front of us will block our view. Other spectators arrive, and we wonder if they are confident this gravel lot is a good place, or if they are looking to us as leaders, and will be disappointed in our decision.
None of us can remember if the fireworks are still shot off the bank building, or the taller Summit Square, and we bicker a little about that too.
We eat a Krispie Kreme or two and sip our milks. Taylor takes a bite out of hers, lays it on the arm of the camp chair, jumps down. The doughnut falls.
"OH NO! My doughnut wuu-ined."
The girls use the lot as their playground and run back and forth between us and the cars. They dance, although there is no music.
Caroline has brought her mom's old cell phone and wants us to "call" her. We do and her pretend conversation is jarringly adult. "Hey. We're at the fireworks. In some parking lot. Later."
In the distance we hear a train whistle and we grab the girls, and take them just beyond the tree line between us and the track, so they can see it. It's a short yet slow train so the girls get a good look. They've never seen a train this close.
When we all sit back down as the light changes, suddenly dusk. Lightning bugs and mosquitoes arrive together. The mosquitoes bite our ankles, but the girls just want to catch the fireflies.
One flies directly in front of us. "Catch me one, Papa!" Caroline cries, as she tries to jump, as the light hovers above her.
He reaches out and snaps it into his hand and gives it to her. She holds it in the cradle of her fingers before opening her hands and letting it fly once again.
We slap at mosquitoes and as it gets darker the girls climb into our laps. We talk to Taylor about not being scared and she is a big girl and she will like the fireworks. She says she will.
"I'm not scared," said her big sister. She's not, either.
Finally it's ten and a shower of pink shows just above the roof-line in front of us, then expands higher and higher over the city.
Taylor puts her fingers in her ears again, but we're far enough way it's not so loud.
We can't see the lower-level show, like the fire-falls off the top of the building--the sky glows white for a few moments and we know what's happening.
All the higher shells soar above the roof-line, falling, sparkling, quietly disappearing, again and again, blue, red, gold, green.
"I not scared, Daddy!" Taylor says.
"I like that one," Caroline chimes in.
When the finale fades away, the girls get packed in their car-seats and the chairs thrown in the cars.
"That was a good place," somebody says. "Taylor did great."
We make a quick getaway.