That’s how Allie described things last night. “That was quite a buffet of fireworks, Dad. It was a fiesta of fireworks! I love the fourth of July,” she said.
I didn’t want to take her.
It had been raining all day and the thought of fighting the crowds as I trudged through fairground mud with a 5-year old perched on my shoulders didn’t appeal to me. After all, we had spent two nights camping in the backyard, set off $80 worth of our own fireworks, hit the carnival at the Junior Fair, watched two hours worth of kids’ movies in the basement and spent a good amount of quality time with one another this holiday weekend. Whatever bonding that might occur beyond this felt as if it had the potential to create some strange interdependence that would spur some rare form of autism.
We went to see the fireworks.
Allie and I had a long walk to get to the park where all the locals congregate for the best view of the display. By the time we got to the park Allie had already collected a fake purple flower that glowed with the help of a small LED connected to two AA batteries. I was happy to buy her the flower as I believed it might make us more visible to the steady stream of cars trying to get to the same place we were headed.
We stood in the park and noticed we were the only people not wise enough to have brought a blanket or a lawn chair. Allie and I found a tree with roots big enough to save us from the wet ground if we sat on them. That’s where we waited for the show to begin.
When the first shell exploded we knew we were in the right place. We left the shelter of the tree and stood in the middle of the park, hand-in-hand, watching the bursts of bright colors and feeling the great booms in the center of our chests. While I was busy with the traditional oooos and ahhhhs, Allie was grunting like a wolf-child. Then she started to shout, “I love American! I love American!” I started to giggle at her as she jumped up and down and continued with her grunting.
Then she started to talk during the brief lulls between explosions. It wasn’t really talking, it was more like screaming. “You know what I want, baby. Give it to me! Give it to me, baby!” She yelled this stuff over and over again. Then a shell would burst and she would exclaim, “That’s what I’m talkin’ about, baby!” She would punctuate each exclamation with her grunting that would crescendo into a disturbing Oooh. Oooooh. Oooooooooooooooh!
I looked to my left. I looked to my right. People were starting to notice the 5-year old spouting 70’s porn clichés standing next to me. I bent down and said, “Keep it down a little, Allie.” I did it gently. I didn’t want to quash the poor girl’s enthusiasm. At the same time, I didn’t want to raise concerns among some in the crowd that my daughter was being raised in a bordello.
I didn’t ask Allie where she had heard people say the things she was saying. I suppose I will ask, eventually, but I’m not at all sure how to broach the topic. In the meantime, I’ll hold off on taking Allie to see her first pro baseball game. If it turns out to be an exciting game I’ll probably get arrested.