The 4th of July means something different to everyone. For some it’s filled with lake water and mosquito repellent. Others spend it closer to home, perhaps with an assortment of grilled meat and fruit medleys. And then there is those of us who are confined in an empty room, making meager earnings and praying for more customers. Saying the week of the 4th was a slow week, would be like saying the White House is a mansion. I spent more time cleaning than I did serving ice cream. As you can imagine, the night of the 4th was no exception. But as we approached closing time, I grew more and more hopeful that we might actually get out of there by the time we were supposed to close.
Our already-small crowd of customers dwindled to a single couple, who seemed in no hurry to end their night, lingering in the dining room. The sun was setting, and the rumbling of do-it-yourself fireworks had begun. “We Will Rock You” was playing softly in the distance; would it be America if it wasn’t? And I was more anxious then ever to get out of there.
After work, I had a twenty minute drive to let a dog out for the people I babysit for. So it wasn’t like I was in a rush to see fireworks, but I knew that I would at least catch a glimpse of a few on the road. And I did. They were all in the distance, and I couldn’t hear any of them (This may be partially due to the fact that I cranked the radio the second I hit the highway), but that didn’t cloud the magic. I was less than a mile from my destination, and I looked around me. There were fireworks all around me. On the right. On the left. And in front of me. Three separate shows, all coming together as one for me in that moment. It was like my very own finale.
Like I said, the 4th of July means something different to everyone. For me, it doesn’t have to mean barbecues and boating. Just seeing the fireworks creates a shimmer of hope that there really are things that forceful and incredible in the world, and that beauty can originate in the most simple of places.
God bless America.