Sunday, January 2, 2011
Midnight approaches and everyone is getting antsy. Food adorns the kitchen counter and none of it has been left untouched. Standing in the kitchen are a few of the men; exchanging funny stories of things that had happened to each of them over the past year. On the kitchen table a riveting game of Picture Dice is commencing and the occupants are raising their voices according to their luck or lack thereof. In the living room in front of the couch four or more dancers jam out to the songs on Just Dance 2; the newest addition to the Wii repertoire; while an unlicensed cameraman takes an unauthorized recording of one particular dancer...! A few people are gathered around the computer playing some extraordinary game I*m sure. My Dad however after waking from a short evening nap; has gone outside to rig up the launching pad.
The clock strikes 12 and everyone scrambles to throw their coats; gloves; scarves; hats; and boots on. The babies and small children are asleep inside and a few stay in to keep warm. But testosterone is pumping and all the men must launch something big and spectacular.
A few bottle rockets fly into the sky and explode with a pop! Drifting down the porch stairs my puppy*s whines reach my ears. I walk out past the halo of light surrounding the house to cover her ears and hold her trembling body close as firework after firework explodes in the air. Reds; golds; and a few blues shower the sky with their brilliant light. My horse paces a frantic burrow in the snow along the far fence; making worried noises with each burst of light.
Silence once again reigns. The show must have ended. I watch as the bystanders march inside.
The proud launchers still buzz a pattern around the remaining fireworks. Some are saved for the next years show; but there are a few of the men that can't leave a firework unfired! One last big firework is sent screaming into the frozen New Year air.
Something just feels off. The men stash the rest of the fireworks in a bag for next year and pick up the burnt out remains of those that were fired. But something was missing. I ponder the events that had just transpired.
No near death experiences this year. All of the illegal Wyoming fireworks had actually ended up in the air as was their purpose. That was it!!! Almost every year of the Crook get together for New Years at least ONE of the airborne fireworks hadn't made it up where it belonged. One year a bottle rocket fell over and shot at almost every group of family members huddled together around the yard. Another year a huge blue firework hadn*t shot out of its canister and had exploded on the ground where everyone was still gathered.
The excitement of those years outweighed the excitement experienced this year. Safety was always a good thing...but you never have stories to tell from those years. Just a thought.
- Taken in Alpine, Wyoming.