Sunday, July 3, 2011


In East Hampton, we always went to the fireworks on the Fourth of July. Well, it may not have been on the fourth, per se, but it was in celebration of the fourth. When I was a child, we chose the show that  the Devon Yacht Club put on.  We'd go down to Big Albert's beach or Fresh Pond beach and face toward the south and have a perfect view. We'd sit on our beach towels or blankets, and ooooo and aahh at every blast of color sent skyward.

The traffic was awful, even in those days, as we left the beach for home.  It took quite awhile to get from the parking lot to the road as the police directed one car into the line from one direction, then another from another direction. Once we got on the road, we crept at a snail's pace, as we meandered through the woods on the winding road. By the time we arrived home, I think only my parents were awake!

When my kids were young, we often chose to go to the Main Beach fireworks, at the oceanside. The school band would assemble on the pavillion, and there would be the added enjoyment of the patriotic songs and Sousa marches. Most of friends, and their families, would gather there as well, so it was a party for us all.  The volunteer fire  department put on the fireworks show, and they did a wonderful job. They really were better than the ones at the bay.  It was often cooler at the ocean beach,too, which meant not so many bugs. There were times,too, when the mist was so thick that we'd come home covered with salty dampness.

The leaving of Main Beach was no easier than leaving the other site. The police were there to direct traffic, and it was all done in an orderly fashion, but since there were so many cars and people, it was slow-going. In order to alleviate some of the excess on the road, the Village began running a school bus to and fro, so that people could still attend without having to have a car.

As the years went on and the kids grew up, we'd try to gather them to join us for the fireworks. My husband had a dump truck for his business, and we'd discovered that if we parked near the country club, a pretty good distance from Main Beach, we could sit in the back of the truck in lawn chairs, and all of us could see very well. We'd turn on the local radio station, and have our patriotic music while the pyrotecnics lit the skies with color and design. Parking there made it far easier to escape at the finale,too. 

We've seen firework displays in Connecticut, aboard a ferry boat that we thought would just deliver us to the shore of Long Island. Little did we know when we boarded that the boat would stop in the Sound, to watch the fireworks display! What a delight! We watched the light show in Massachusetts the night after my son was married. We've seen them in Woodstock, NH, after watching the most delightful parade of local people with home-made floats and children's decorated bikes and wagons, and listening to their military band in a gazebo on the square. I think that was Mike's and my favorite celebration of the fourth in our history. It was so simple and real.

So here we are again, and tonight we will watch fireworks put on by a church nearby. We'll park in the parking lot on a hill, facing the church, and will enjoy the show.  How will you celebrate? Will you have parties? Where will you watch fireworks, or will you not?  What is your favorite memory of a Fourth of July?  However you choose, let's all remember to say, "Happy Birthday, America!" and thank God for the sacrifices made over the years to ensure the freedoms that we enjoy!