Criticize our celebration if you must, but don’t get between me and a parachute
There are hundreds of movies out there centered around one common theme.
The theme revolves around a city-minded relative or friend visiting the one-horse town only to discover their inner self and learn life-changing lessons.
In real life these plot lines rarely run out in such a matter.
I was about 11 years old when I spent the summer with my grandparents in Monticello.
The Fourth of July is a big deal in this small country town. There was a big community cookout near Broad Street. Yards were filled with sprinklers and kids running wet. Neighbors gathered around fence lines and front yards. And the evening always ended with fireworks, especially for us since we lived in the county.
One year our neighbor had his grown children and grandchildren from “the big city” to visit for a patriotic celebration. I can’t recall her name, but he had a granddaughter about my age.
I was very excited to meet her because we didn’t get a lot of visitors on Nobles Road. I was ready for a friend to tag along with since my grandparents usually mingled with her grandfather a lot.
Heading to downtown Monticello to enjoy some good food on the old high school grounds, I was ready to dive into the ice cream first. My new friend complained the whole time.
All I heard was her complaints about how hot it was, how her Push Pop was already opened, how her burger was still pink, how the stray dogs kept licking her leg, how her new toy looked cheap....and so on.
I started wishing that we would leave them and go do our own thing. I liked my toy plane, my Push Pop was pretty good, my burger was cooked just right, the dogs were eager to eat the extra hot dog I couldn’t eat and of course it was hot. It’s Mississippi.
By the time we got back to Nobles Road, I was hoping Maw Maw would suggest we go our separate ways.
But she didn’t, and they ended up staying for barbecue and fireworks.
Well, the complaints didn’t stop. She thought her pork was too dry. She didn’t want to play in the yard because she would get sticky with sweat. She told me my dog Roho was ugly. She even informed me my toys were outdated.
Paw Paw could tell I was getting frustrated. He tried to calm me down by telling my that my Christmas Barbie wasn’t last year’s version. I actually had the one from next year ahead of anybody.
I’d had about had enough of Miss Prissy Pants by the time Paw Paw suggested we do fireworks.
Well, of course she said my fireworks were cheap. Her daddy bought the jumbo packs that had everything from exploding mushrooms to atomic bombs. All I had was bottle rockets, screaming chickens, growing worms and sparklers.
But I was excited about my parachutes. There is an art to the parachute. After the spark hits the bottom on the tube, a small parachute shoots into the air,
The object of any child, or adult for that matter, is to run around under the parachute to catch it before your friend does. Catching it equals bragging rights for the rest of the night – or at least until the next parachute is launched.
My new “friend” decided she would go against me to get the parachute. In her typical manner, she informed me that she would get it before me because I wore glasses, which meant I couldn’t see very well.
As the parachute shot into the air, I began to squint my eyes and move around like a nut in order to see where the parachute was heading. She was right beside me, mocking my inability to see well in the dark.
Out of nowhere, she stopped flaring her arms. She sat down and began rubbing her eyes. Before long, she was on the verge of tears, whining the whole time.
I continued to look for the chute until I saw it almost fall into my hands.
With a burst of excitement, I began jumping up and down. I let out a victorious yell. I even showed the chute to my friend and asked her if I caught it, since I couldn’t see well you know.
She informed me that had it not been for the ash falling into her eyes from the sky, she would would have won.
“Well, if you had glasses the stuff would have hit them and not your eyes,” I said, with a grin.
I never saw my “big city” friend again. I don’t believe they visited another Fourth of July. She certainly didn’t leave our little country town with a life-changing lesson in her heart. She hated it, through and through.
I still compete with my husband and his brother to catch the latest chute every Fourth of July. And when an ash gets in my eye, I can’t help but think about her, even for a second.
The only difference is I quickly wipe the ash away and try to knock my competitors out the way.
I have a title to defend.
Last Updated (Friday, 02 July 2010 16:51)